Hooray for Pulses

You’re probably thinking,  “Well yes, of course, hooray for pulses because pulses (plural) means our hearts are beating, which means we’re alive.” For sure! But I’m talking about another kind of pulses, a crop group that includes dry beans, dry peas, chickpeas, and lentils. Here at the farm, we {heart} pulses!

Bean love via iyp2016.org

And we’re not alone in our adoration. The United Nations has declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses. They are hoping their focus will raise awareness about the protein power and health benefits of dried beans and peas, as well as highlight the economic advantages of growing them. Pulses have been an essential part of the human diet for centuries, contributing double the proteins found in wheat and triple the amount found in rice. They are also rich in micronutrients, amino acids, and B-vitamins. Pulse crops are one of the most sustainable crops a farmer can grow.

Bags of beans via iyp2016.org

It takes just 43 gallons of water to produce one pound of pulses, compared with 216 for soybeans and 368 for peanuts. They also greatly contribute to soil quality by fixing nitrogen. And growing them offers great potential to lift rural farmers out of poverty, as they can fetch two to three times the price of cereals, while processing them provides additional economic opportunities locally.

Check out the International Year of Pulses 2016 (IYP2016) website for upcoming events, recipes, and piles of other inspiring info on pulses. It’s a great resource and we really truly love our pulses. We’ve been serving them up for 20+ years! My kids love it that most anyone can make NannyJane’s soups exactly the way she does. Haha. If you haven’t taken a peek, here’s a link, and Happy Year of the Pulses!

Leave a comment 7 Comments

  1. Amy Cloud Chambers says:

    Thanks for the info on Year of the Pulses! Coming from an Italian background, my mom believes in including plenty of beans in our diets. She’s about to turn 94, so they must be doing her good!

  2. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Thank goodness for delicious beans and other legumes. They are versatile, inexpensive, tasty and readily available. I think one reason people don’t use them as often as they should is that they do not know how to cook with them. With more Farm to Table type restaurants and Eat Local movements, hopefully, we will see a big increase on using beans with fresh produce and available grains.

  3. Karlyne says:

    We just had pink beans for dinner last night!

  4. Krista says:

    This is really cool. I hope the Year of Pulses spreads the word of all the wonderful benefits. I agree with Winnie. I think many people don’t know how to cook them and wouldn’t know where to start to learn. It scares people away.

  5. Sarah Hall says:

    This IS really cool! Being a pescetarian, beans and legumes make up a huge part of our diet. Yay for the year of Pulses!

  6. When I lived in India, lentils especially formed a big part of the diet. I love the red/orange ones, sweeter and certainly prettier than the brown ones. I pretty much lived on my own homemade lentil soup in college, it was my ” poor woman’s diet” and it kept me going through all my exams and classes.
    these days I grow and sell many kinds of pulses on my website. If you are looking for rare beans, particularly endangered ones from America, please have a quick visit:


  7. I loved this article! Thank you! I had no idea the beans and lentils we eat are called pulses. Don’t we just learn something new every day!?!

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