The UN General Assembly has declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses. This is perfect timing, food costs are going up in Canada as there is no better way than to combat rising food costs with pulses.
Beans, chickpeas, lentils and dried peas are commonly referred to as pulses.
According to Pulse Canada pulses contain iron, potassium, magnesium and zinc, as well as some B vitamins, including thiamin (B1), niacin (B3) and folate which is also known as folic acid.
Alberta grows peas, lentils and chickpeas. Quebec and Ontario grow beans, as does Manitoba which also grows peas and lentils. Saskatchewan is the largest producer of peas, lentils and chickpeas in Canada.
Combat rising food costs with pulses
With rising food costs enjoying Canadian-grown pulses is a frugal, nutritonally-rich, dietary choice.
The Pulse Pledge — a website that promotes pulses — says, “per serving kidney beans have higher antioxidant content than blueberries and pomegranate juice” and “chickpeas contain three times more folate per serving than kale.”
Learn more at: pulsepledge.com/year-of-pulses/. I prefer chickpeas over kale at this time of year as chickpeas are grown in Canada, and kale is imported.
Lentils and beans are a money-saving addition to spaghetti sauce, chilli or soup. I make my own hummus which I serve with some locally-grown carrots for dipping.
Lentils and split peas, once rinsed, and picked through can be added to soups and stews without soaking, although I usually soak them for a few hours so they cook faster.
When using dry beans be sure to soak, rinse and cook them before using them in a recipe. Do not think you can simply rinse them and add into a chilli; unsoaked beans contain a harmful toxin, but please do not let that put you off.
Beans and chickpeas require soaking for at least 12 hours in a bowl of water, ideally change the soaking water a couple of times. Rinse thoroughly and then put in a large saucepan of fresh water. Bring to the boil and simmer until cooked. For specific cooking instructions and recipes visit: pulsecanada.com/food-health/how-to-cook-pulses
If you are worried whether increasing pulses in your diet will make you windy, don’t worry, if you properly soak and cook the pulses you should be gale-free! That said if you go from no pulses in your diet to all of a sudden eating pulses everyday you might want to be on the other side of the block… alone!
Pulses are a wonderful addition to an environmentally low-impact, Canadian-grown balanced diet. Get creative and learn how to combat rising food costs with pulses!