Legume species are a highly significant source of vegetable protein for the entire globe. They are utilized as a key element of general food baskets under the purview of the “World Food Program” and other “Food Aid Initiatives.” They provide protein to almost 2 billion people across the world.
Legumes have low-fat content, a high carbohydrate content, and are nutrient-dense. Legumes offer 22% of vegetable protein and 7% of carbohydrates in human nutrition, as well as 38% of protein and 5% of carbohydrates in animal nutrition.
They are a good source of fiber and B vitamins and are consumed all throughout the world. They can also be used as a vegetarian protein source in place of meat. Legumes provide a multitude of health advantages. These include lowering cholesterol and blood sugar and boosting good bacteria in the stomach.
Furthermore, legumes’ importance in vegetable production grows due to their ability to bind free nitrogen from the air to the soil. They are also used in crop rotation. They increase soil fertility and contribute to the improvement of soil structure in salty soils and fallow areas.
Legume Production in Turkey
Turkey is the most significant component of the “Fertile Crescent”, which is widely regarded as the legume gene hub. Chickpeas, dry beans, and lentils are the most widely farmed edible legumes in Turkey. Legumes are an important product category in both production and consumption because of their contribution to employment, export potential, ease of insertion into crop rotation, efficacy in reducing fallow areas, and high nutritional value.
Despite the fact that legume production is widespread across Turkey, it is concentrated in Southeastern Anatolia, Central Anatolia, and transition zones, as well as the southern portion of the Marmara Region.
In Turkey, legumes are farmed over 871 thousand hectares of land. Turkey produces 1.3 million tons of dry legumes, with chickpeas accounting for 49% of total production, lentils for 28%, beans for 22%, broad beans for 0.7%, and peas for 0.2%.
Here are five of the healthiest legumes available in Turkey.
Lentils are a fantastic vegetarian protein source that can be used in soups and stews. They might also be beneficial to your health. They were one of the earliest legumes and plants to be grown. Vegetable protein accounts for 70% of people’s protein needs, with legumes accounting for 18.5% of this. Lentil is an important plant in human nutrition. It has 25-28% protein in its grains, preserves free nitrogen in the air and enriches the soil with nitrogen. It is appropriate as a second crop since it leaves the field early.
Lentil production has been in decline in Turkey and other parts of the world for a period of time. But with the assistance and project applications, it has been on the rise lately.
The Middle East accounts for the majority of Turkey’s lentil exports. Iraq, Sudan, Egypt, and Syria are the main markets. Saudi Arabia, Germany, Italy, and Algeria are the next countries on the list. Turkey is a net lentil exporter in terms of value since the lentils are processed and packed in the nation before being exported as higher-value goods.
Chickpea is the most protein-dense member of the Legumes family. Chickpea, which is one of the first foods that spring to mind when it comes to a balanced and nutritious diet, not only satisfies the body’s protein demands but also provides vitamin support throughout the winter months. Its ingestion boosts bodily resilience and even fights aging in cold weather. Because of its high vitamin E content.
Chickpeas germinate fast and are ready to harvest in three days. Chickpeas are used in a variety of recipes all around the country. It does, however, have a specific position in the cuisines of North Africa, India, Spain, and Turkey. This plant, which may be found virtually anywhere in Turkey, is most commonly observed in the Anatolia areas of Western, Central, and Southeast.
Kidney beans are one of the most popular beans on the market. The kidney bean is a kind of common bean that is an important food crop and a good source of protein. Kidney beans are widely consumed when cooked and are utilized in a variety of traditional cuisines.
Common beans, such as kidney beans, are the most popular dry bean in Europe. After dried peas, the common bean is the second most popular dried leguminous vegetable imported by Europe.
Soybeans, often known as soya beans, are a kind of legume that originated in eastern Asia. They have been consumed for thousands of years and are a key part of Asian cuisines. They are now mostly farmed in Asia, as well as South and North America. Soybeans are commonly consumed whole in Asia, although extensively processed soy products are far more prevalent in Western nations. Soy flour, soy protein, tofu, soy milk, soy sauce, and soybean oil are among the many soy goods available. Soybeans are high in antioxidants and phytonutrients, both of which have been linked to a variety of health advantages. However, there have been concerns expressed regarding possible negative consequences.
For many years, soybean, which was originally brought to Turkey in the 1930s, was farmed exclusively in the Black Sea area. However, it began to be cultivated in irrigated sections of the Aegean and Mediterranean regions once the second product initiative was implemented in the following years. Soybean farming is now mostly done in the Çukurova area of Turkey.
Peas are the most widely grown legume kind after beans and chickpeas. They, like many other legumes, are high in fiber and protein. Pea fiber and protein, which may be taken as supplements, have been found to provide a range of health advantages in studies. It has been a prominent grain legume crop for millennia; seeds with domesticated features dating back at least 7000 years have been found in ancient sites across what is now Turkey.