LEGUMES FROM EUROPE
THE HISTORY OF LEGUMES
The most common legumes in the EU are pulses (like beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas) and soya beans.
Archaeological finds show the first human consumption of legumes dates back to before 10,000 years BCE. From the Neolithic age of agriculture, cereal cultivation was first, then camel legumes.
The Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilizations grew and ate many types and varieties of legumes.
THE ROLE OF LEGUMES IN THE HUMAN DIET
Legumes are rich in vegetable proteins and micronutrients making them a healthy and delicious alternative to proteins of animal origin. They have a low fat content (2-4%) and are an important source of iron and zinc, carbohydrates and fibre. Completely gluten-free, they are suitable for celiacs.
In Italy, the rediscovery of the beneficial effects of the Mediterranean diet, combined with a greater sensitivity to environmental protection, have contributed to a return to the cultivation and consumption of legumes, which had been lost in the 1960s.
THE PROCESSING INDUSTRY IN EUROPE AND ITALY
Canned legumes allow consumers to eat the products they want all year round, anywhere in the world, with the same characteristics as the fresh product and with guaranteed hygiene and food safety. The Italian canning industry is known for its high quality, safety and tradition based on respect for the land, commitment and passion; its products particularly coveted in foreign markets. The industry has a strong commitment to ensuring safe, responsible working conditions and environmental sustainability, with major investments in energy efficiency and the reduction of water consumption.
FOOD SAFETY AND ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY
Italy and the European Union have always been in the vanguard regarding food safety and the quality of food products.
To assure consumers of a high level of food safety and safeguard the agri food sector from recurrent crises, the EU has adopted the farm to fork strategy to meet the challenge of assuring health and safe food along the whole food chain, with an integrated control system, based on a combination of high requirements for agri food products for health and animal and plant welfare, whether produced in the EU or imported.
FRESH, DRIED AND PRESERVED LEGUMES
Legumes can be fresh, dried or preserved.
Fresh legumes, characterised by their high water content, with hydrosoluble vitamins and mineral salts, are rich in nutrients and a low calorie intake; when frozen, they preserve all the nutritional properties of the fresh product with a very slight loss of hydrosoluble vitamins and mineral salts.
Dry legumes are the most caloric due to their higher concentration of proteins, carbohydrates (low in soy) and lipids (low in all legumes except soy). Most legumes, such as chickpeas and lentils, are found only dried.