Chickpeas are a small edible legume that grow on the chickpea plant. This plant grows best in a tropical or subtropical climate with a large amount of annual rain. It is a relatively small plant and grows to a maximum of 50cm (20 in) in height. The chickpeas are small edible seeds that grow inside a seedpod on the plant. These seeds can be used for a variety of recipes, including the popular dip hummus, and can even be ground into flour, called gram or besan flour. There are two main varieties of chickpeas, desi and kabul, and both of these are a good source of protein, zinc, and folate, and are very low in fat. Chickpeas are available in raw or pre-cooked forms at most grocery stores. Let’s find out where chickpeas come from and where they are grown today.
Where do chickpeas originate from?
Chickpeas are believed to be one of the earliest cultivated legumes in the world with evidence of their cultivation dating back 7,500 years. Evidence from this time has been found in Turkey, Jericho and evidence of wild chickpeas has been found from southern France dated to approximately 6800 BC. From this evidence it is most likely that chickpeas originated in the Middle East and/or Europe. The chickpea was eaten in many parts of Europe by the Bronze Age and spread around the world from here.
Where are chickpeas grown today?
Today, chickpeas are grown on all continents, apart from Antarctica. The largest producer of this legume is India with a whopping 6 million metric tons produced in this country each year. Pakistan and Turkey both produce over 500,000 metric tons and Australian and Iran both produce over 300,000 metric tons. Other large producers are Myanmar, Canada, Ethiopia, Mexico, Iraq and the United States.