Pulse check

PulsesA couple of weeks I ago I traveled to Alberta to learn all about Canadian pulses. It was a great trip that will be remembered not only for good company, great weather and terrific meals, but also because I learned so much interesting information that I hope to organize into witty tidbits of scintillating prose in the coming weeks.

Although Canada is the world’s largest exporter of lentils and chickpeas, I discovered that few people – even food professionals – can confidently define this term when asked. In fact, when I told people that I was going to the pulse harvest, I got a lot of quizzical looks!

So, for your big fat information, pulses are the mature, dried edible seeds of legumes such as dried peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas. (Although soybeans are legumes they are not considered pulses due to their high fat content.)

Apparently the average Canadian eats only about 1/4 cup (50 mL) of pulses a week. How do you compare to this average?


19 Responses to Pulse check

  1. Count me as average here.

  2. Sharon Haslam says:

    Wow, look at me first to comment! I love beans and dried legumes of any kind. My teenage boys are conscious of getting more protein and fiber in their diets so I try to throw a can of something in to as meals as possible. Lentils or beans in soups, stews, rice and some pasta dishes (oh, with polenta too). Chickpeas usually go into our green salada or I make fresh hummus which they use like a spread on everything. Dired peas or pretty big as I’m french Canadian. I try to use dried but canned is so easy I go for them at least 4 times a week! We eat lupini beans right out of the can–does that count?

  3. Sharon Haslam says:

    I was too long winded (as usual)–Cheryl beat me by one minute!

  4. Rosa says:

    I love pulses! I guess that I eat about 2 cups a week…



  5. cheryl says:

    Well, when I lived in Africa chickpeas and lentils were a staple of my diet, so I figure I ate enough during those two years to keep me above average, at least for a while.

    I actually bought a bag of paquito beans (a cross between a red bean and pinto bean) 2 weeks ago and just cooked them up. They’re California-grown, and delicious!

  6. I had no idea Canada was a huge exporter of lentils! We are major fans of all kinds of pulses. If you make it to Italy, I promise to take you to Castellucio where the finest Italian lentils come from.

  7. Rituparna says:

    Hello !

    Lentils are a staple daily in every Indian household. But me not being very fond of them I probably do eat around 1 – 1 1/2 cups per week.

  8. smartpeopleiknow says:

    I think Canadians could eat more of them if they substituted or supplemented carbs such as rice and potatoes with pulses, too. I like have lentils with fish, and I like to added beans to rice.

    Having food products that used them would also be good. A dried chickpea with a spicy flavouring might be a good beer snack, and fast food quesadillas stuff with mashed beans would be a good way to get kids to eat more of them.

  9. 24carrots says:

    -Spread hummus on grainy bread with shredded carrots and sprouts and press in my george forman grill- honestly, when the hummus gets hot its like cheese!
    – Add kidney beans and chickpeas to salads, I think its a great texture combination.
    – As we get into pumpkin, sweet potato, and butternut squash, black beans are a great flavor (and color) compliment.

  10. Hélène says:

    I love lentils, chickpeas, different beans etc. It’s on the menu weekly. I have never heard of the world Pulse.

  11. Heather says:

    I’d have to say I’m below average, and the rest of my family is way, way, way, way below average. There’s not much point in cooking lentils, or other pulses if all I’m going to get are complaints.

  12. karen says:

    my oldest wasnt a picky eater …my youngest now 16 has finally eating things w/o me creating a recipe that hid such good for you items…
    If you can not think of ways to in cooperate good for you items then search….My son might noyt like sprouts that i have been researching but once you get into looking at all the wonderful benefits and recipes…wow..they would never know what they been eating after you do the switch…
    My first creation was….pot pie…no 2 crust like we love but oats as the bottom crust and I would puree mixed veggies since he wasnt fond of the varieties that make it healthier…Once pureed that made a wonderful thickener so flour wasnt needed…my oldest said mom wow that flavor what did you do and I told him I hid veggies on your brother…and now its the way i make pot pie…chock full of veggies….I hope this was helpful…I love creating recipes that my loved ones love….THANKS

  13. eddiesohn says:

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