Healthy Vegetable Diet - Beans- Legumes to Chickpeas

Varities of Pulses

Variety Picture Courtesy of  www.fastheadlines.com/.../2009/08/pulses.jpg
Variety Picture Courtesy of www.fastheadlines.com/.../2009/08/pulses.jpg

Chick Peas

Photo Courtesy of fotosearch.com
Photo Courtesy of fotosearch.com

Difference Between Peas and Beans

Different types of pulses (legumes) have been eaten for thousands of years and you can choose from a large variety of pulses. They are grown around the world. Pulses belong to the family of Leguminous, which gets its name from the characteristic pod or legume that protects the seeds while they are forming.

Pulses are an annual leguminous crop yielding one to twelve grains or seeds of different colors, shapes and sizes grown within a pod. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization pulses are annual crops yielding 1-12 seeds of variable size, shape, and color within a pod that is used for food and animal feed. The word pulse is used to describe crops harvested solely for the dry grain. Crops such as green beans or green peas are considered a green vegetable. Crops that are mainly grown for oil extraction are also excluded, such as soybeans and peanuts. Good examples of pulses are black eyed peas, lima beans, red or green lentils, chickpeas and pigeon peas.


Difference Between Peas and Beans

There are three criteria to know the difference between peas and beans:

  • Specific climate conditions are necessary for growth; Peas are a cool season legume and they are more tolerant of cold temperatures.
  • The growing structure and support; Pea plants in pods grown on a vine. Beans typically grow in a pod or on a bush.
  • Take into account the growing season; Peas mature quickly and are ready for harvest from 70-90 days. Beans mature more slowly and are ready for harvest in 85-115 days.

As a further example of US farmed legumes dry peas, being the mature peas are the pulses, while the immature peas in the fresh green pod is a green vegetable. Lentils are pluses with lens shaped seeds. Another pulse is a chickpea which are shaped with a beak resembling that of a baby chick; these are also called garbanzo beans. Soybeans are called the complete protein but are not pulses. Peanuts are also not pulses.

Proper Preparation of Grains and Legumes

Nutritional Value of Legumes

Pulses are similar in nutrition as they are rich in protein, carbohydrates, fiber and they are low in fat. Furthermore, they are important sources of Vitamin B. Fresh pulses contain Vitamin C, but it declines after harvesting and is completely gone after they are dried. Pulses are typically eaten for their high protein content, particularly by vegetarians.

As an example, haricot beans, which are used to make baked beans, per 100 g of dried beans there is 21.4 g protein, 1.6 g fat, 45.5 g carbohydrates, 25.4 g fiber, 6.7 mg iron and 180 mg of calcium. Haricot beans have 100 calories in ½ cup of cooked beans. Green lentils contain high levels of proteins, including essential amino acids isoleucine and lysine. Plus, they are an essential source of inexpensive protein in many parts of the world. They also contain dietary fiber, folate, Vitamin B1, iron and other minerals.

Pulse Peas and Beans

Photo courtesy of Google  www.mesogeia.net/food/fasolia_en.html
Photo courtesy of Google www.mesogeia.net/food/fasolia_en.html

Purchasing Pulses and Cooking

Another advantage of pulses is they store well for long periods of time. Since there are some insects that like to attack pulses, ideally they should be stored in an airtight container in a dark, cool place, such as a pantry.

When you go to purchase pulses look for a bright color with a plump appearance, unbroken, evenly sized, pick them over to remove grit and husks and take care not to allow them to ferment while soaking. Most pulses require soaking before cooking to help reconstitute and shorten the cooking time. One exception would be lentils. Use cold water and bring to boil, and then allow to stand. The volume in the pot will double, so you must use a large pot. All pulses should be cooked with a slow simmer, stirring occasionally. Salt and acid ingredients toughen pulse skins and should be added after the pulse is cooked. Rapid boiling with red kidney beans is recommended to destroy a poisonous enzyme, and then cook on low heat to finish.

There are other ways to cook pulses and some of the dishes that are easily recognized that contain pulses are baked beans, Boston baked beans and white beans with port. There are a number of various bean salads which use pulses, plus soups, with Lentil soup probably being one of the better known.

In conclusion, pulses are inexpensive, come in many varieties, are nutritious, easy to store and easy to cook. That cannot be said of very many foods we consume

© 2010 Pamela Oglesby

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Comments 31 comments

Tom Whitworth profile image

Tom Whitworth 6 years ago from Moundsville, WV

Pamela,

All this time I was eating pulses without knowing what they were. A crock pot is useful in preparation.


Wanderlust profile image

Wanderlust 6 years ago from New York City

I love beans! Great hub!


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida

Pamela - thanks for the beans / peas / legumes / pulses education. Very thorough. Heretofore, I always thought a pulse was an indication you are still alive.


Bail Up ! profile image

Bail Up ! 6 years ago

Whatever they are called...they pack great nutritional value. Pulses are 20 to 25% protein by weight, which is double the protein content of wheat and three times that of rice. Eat more beans!


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Thank you for putting all these informative points together. I learned a lot from it. I love baked beans.


partisan patriot 6 years ago

Pamela

If Peas and Beans were politicians the Peas would definitely be the Republicans while Beans would be Democrats.

Peas are cool and more tolerant; definitely a Republican Characteristic! Peas also mature quickly and are ready for the world sooner!

Democratic Beans mature more slowly; some the maturation process skips all together. They all want to fly off with Peter Pan to Never Never Land where everything is equal and you simply fly over trouble; aka Captain Hook!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Tom (who's already on the right track), Wanderlust (you are also on the right track),

drbj, Yes I thought the pulse was what we checked to make sure we were alive also! Very funny.

Bail-up, you figured out the math very quickly.

Hello, I'm glad you liked the hub and the beans.

Patriot,I like the way you can fit politics into anything. I want to thank you all for your wonderful comments and I enjoyed a bit of comedy as well. I didn't know the difference between pulses and beans so I actually just finished a second hub on beans.


katiem2 profile image

katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

Pamela, Now you've done it I am so hungry, gotta go grab a handful of raw nuts. Love this pulses legumes and chicpea hub. Great review. Thanks and Peace :)


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Katiem, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub and at least you will be eating healthy. Thanks for the comment.


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

I wrote about beans, too. Great minds!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Habee, Thanks for your comment. There are a lot of bean hubs with the contest starting.


rprcarz50 profile image

rprcarz50 6 years ago

Hi again pamela99,

Very useful and great content . Fine work on this Hub !

Thank you.

Ron

As always also a2z50


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

rprcarz, Thank you so much for your comments.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon

It's easy to forget about these but they are so good for us!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

akirchner, I agree but now you will probably be more aware of them. Thanks for your comment.


Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 6 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

Nice info on all these beans.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Sandy, Thank you for your comment.


soumyasrajan 6 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA

Nice article and info Pamela! I am a vegetarian so enjoyed even more reading about difference between peas and beans. For vegetarians pulses and milk are the main source of proteins.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

soumyasrajan, Thank you so much for your comment. As a vegetarian it is important to know where to get all the important nutrients your body needs and it sounds like you do that well.


Roberta99 profile image

Roberta99 6 years ago

Great Hub on beans. Now I need to go to the store. Pulses in regard to beans was news to me.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Roberta, Thank you so much for your comments.


Support Med. profile image

Support Med. 6 years ago from Michigan

I thought black-eyed peas were 'peas'. Never heard of pigeon peas or haricut beans. Having said that, this article is very educational!! Have plenty of pulse and beans in cabinet. As you stated, inexpensive, last long in pantry and very healthy for us. Voted up/rated!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Support Med, The only thing I know about Haricut beans is they are white and in the family of the great nothern beans. Thanks for your comment.


PREM SAGAR 5 years ago

AS some of seeds in pulse do not soften even after cooking, but remain very hard.What is the reason?


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Prem Sagar, The only thing I know of that can affect the peas not becoming soft is if you live in a very high elevation. They would take much longer to cook in that case. Sorry I can't be of any more help. Thanks for commenting.


marshacanada profile image

marshacanada 5 years ago from Vancouver BC

Great Hub Pamela99. When I was a teen I stopped eating meat because I felt bad about people killing animals.My mom was very worried. I became a carnivor again in my 20's. Two years ago at the age of 90 my diabetic mom became a vegan and began eating pulses and soya.My turn to worry that she wouldn't get enough protein. Mom's fine and her blood sugar leveled out.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

marshacanada, That's an interesting turn of events and thank you for sharing them. I appreciate your comments.


Rusticliving profile image

Rusticliving 4 years ago from California

Love this hub on the varieties of pulses. Your layout and descriptions are wonderful! Definitely voting this one up, sharing and linking to my Eating Healthy~Feeling Great Series "Lovely Legumes". Thanks for sharing this vital information! Lisa


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Rusticliving, I will be interesting in checking out your series and I appreciate your including the link to this hub. Thanks for your comments.


snowdrops profile image

snowdrops 4 years ago from The Second Star to the Right

extraordianry wonderful. im kinda switching now to whole grains, beans, and other healthy foods.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

snowdrops, I did the same thing about a year ago. I'm glad this hub was in such good timing for you and I appreciate your comments.

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