Chickpea Facts

Chickpea Facts
Chickpea, also known as garbanzo, is a legume (belongs to the pea family) that originates from Turkey, Syria and Iran. Cultivation of chickpea started 7000 years BC. It was popular and widely consumed in the ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. Chickpea is still one of the most widely cultivated and consumed crops in the world (especially in the poor communities in Africa and Asia). Chickpea grows on a well-drained soil in warm and arid areas that provide enough sun. It is sensitive to frost and heavy rainfall. Chickpea is prone to fungal diseases that can decrease harvest drastically. There are 43 species and numerous varieties of chickpea that are mainly cultivated as a source of food. Other than that, chickpea has application in textile industry and industry of dyes.
Interesting Chickpea Facts:
Chickpea has simple or branched stem that can reach from 8 to 20 inches in height.
Chickpea has pinnate leaves that consist of 5 to 7 pairs of leaflets. Leaves are green, toothed on the edges and covered with hairs.
Chickpea produces individual, small flowers that can be white, pink or violet colored. Flower are bisexual (contain both types of reproductive organs) and able to perform self-pollination.
Fruit of chickpea is small, roundish, hairy pod. It contains from one to three seed (peas).
Seed of chickpea can be globular or irregular shaped, with rough or smooth surface. They can be creamy or yellow-brownish colored.
Chickpea is rich source of dietary fibers and proteins. It contains vitamins B6 and B9 and minerals such as iron and magnesium.
Chickpea can be consumed as snack (roasted chickpeas), dip (mashed chickpeas) or as an ingredient of numerous salty and sweet dishes. Flour made of chickpea is popular in India.
Green parts of the plant and immature pods are used in the Asian cuisine.
Discarded husks, green and dry stems of chickpea are used as animal fodder.
Roasted chickpeas were used as a substitute for coffee in the Europe during the 18th century and at the beginning of the 20th century (during the WWI).
Stem, leaves and pods of chickpea excrete fluid that contains malic and oxalic acids. These compounds have aphrodisiac properties and can be used in treatment of bronchitis, constipation, diarrhea, flatulence, warts and hypercholesterolemia. Cooked mixture of milk and chickpeas is used to alleviate diarrhea in infants in Chile.
Leaves of chickpea are used for the manufacture of blue (indigo-like) dyes.
Starch extracted from chickpea is used to impregnate yarns of silk, wool and cotton in textile industry.
90 million tons of chickpeas are produced each year. India is the greatest producer and exporter of chickpeas in the world.
Chickpea is an annual plant, which means that it completes its life cycle in one year.

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