Garbanzo Bean

Other names: Chickpea

General Information: The Latin name for garbanzo beans, Cicer arietinum, means "small ram," reflecting the unique shape of this legume that somewhat resembles a ram's head. Garbanzo beans are also referred to as chickpeas, Bengal grams and Egyptian peas.

Garbanzos have a delicious nutlike taste and a texture that is buttery, yet somewhat starchy and pasty. A very versatile legume, they are a noted ingredient in many Middle Eastern and Indian dishes such as hummus, falafels and curries.

Nutritional: Garbanzos are a good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber, as are most other beans. In addition to lowering cholesterol, garbanzos' high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal, making these beans an especially good choice for individuals with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia. When combined with whole grains such as rice, garbanzos provide virtually fat-free high quality protein. But this is far from all garbanzos have to offer. Garbanzos are an excellent source of the trace mineral, molybdenum, an integral component of the enzyme sulfite oxidase, which is responsible for detoxifying sulfites. Sulfites are a type of preservative commonly added to prepared foods like delicatessen salads and salad bars. Persons who are sensitive to sulfites in these foods may experience rapid heartbeat, headache or disorientation if sulfites are unwittingly consumed. If you have ever reacted to sulfites, it may be because your molybdenum stores are insufficient to detoxify them.

History: Garbanzo beans originated in the Middle East, the region of the world whose varied food cultures still heavily rely upon and revere this high protein legume. The first record of garbanzos being consumed dates back about seven thousand years. They seemed to have grown wild for about two thousand years since they were not first cultivated until approximately 3000 BC. Their cultivation began in the Mediterranean basin and subsequently spread to India and Ethiopia.

Garbanzos were grown by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans and were very popular among these cultures. During the 16th century, garbanzo beans were brought to other subtropical regions of the world by both Spanish and Portuguese explorers as well as Indians who emigrated to other countries. Today,the main commercial producers of garbanzos are India, Pakistan, Turkey, Ethiopia and Mexico.

Recipes: 1

Fire Roasted Fresh In Shell Garbanzo Beans