The irregular shaped peas have a high protein content and can be used in a large variety of dishes.
Chickpea was one of the first pulses grown by man. It is one of the eight neolithic founder crops, which were plant species that were domesticated in the Fertile Crescent region.
Basic information and facts
Chickpeas probably originate from Turkey.
Chickpeas were first grown in the Middle East. They are now common in India, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, Ethiopia, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Peru, USA and Australia.
Annual, biennial, or perennial:
Chickpea is grown as an annual crop.
Chickpea plants are 20 to 50 centimeters tall.
Small feathery leaves.
Chickpeas are a pulse crop. The fruit is a seedpod which contains two or three brown peas with an irregular shape.
There are two types of chickpea:
one has small, darker seeds and a rough coat, the other has lighter coloured, larger seeds and a smoother coat.
Climate and weather:
Chickpeas grow best in subtropical and tropical climates. Sometimes also grown in temperate regions.
Chickpea is a self-pollinated crop.
Spacing (close range):
Chickpea are often broadcasted. If planted they are grown in rows 25 cm apart, and 10 cm between plants.
Spacing (wide range):
Spacing of 60 centimeters between rows, and 10 cm between plants.
Chickpeas are grown from seed.
Several insects attack chickpea including the pod borer (Helicoverpa armigera), cutworms, armyworms and aphids. Stored chickpeas are often infested by Bruchid beetles.
Harvest the plants at maturity or slightly earlier. Harvest by cutting the plants close to the ground or by uprooting. Keep the plants in the field a few days for drying. When dry the crop is threshed (e.g. by trampling) and then the chaff can be separated from the peas by winnowing.
Chickpeas are used in many different ways. The entire peas can be cooked and eaten warm in stews or cold in salads. Peas can be ground into ‘gram flour’ which is used in many Indian dishes. Cooked peas can be ground and shaped in balls that are then fried. Mashed chickpeas are the main ingredient for hummus, which is a dip that also contains garlic, olive oil and lemon juice.
Did you know that?
- Chickpeas are healthy because they are high in protein.
- Chickpeas are one of the earliest grown vegetables. They were already cultivated in the Middle East about 7500 years ago.