Chickpeas, together with other legumes, are historical testimony of the tradition and gastronomic culture of Pollino. Round in shape and pale pink in color, they are fragrant, very tender, creamy and tasty on the palate. Its valuable organoleptic characteristics make it a typical excellence of the area.
This small legume has ancient origins that date back to the Roman Empire. It is still cultivated today by mountain farmers who, with great difficulty, still manage to give us these refined flavors. Small mountain chickpeas are grown on stony soils rich in iron and minerals. The harvest begins at the end of the summer, between August and September.
This unique legume, the result of unique pedoclimatic conditions, in addition to being crunchy and fleshy, in addition to having an intense and fragrant taste, has a rich amount of proteins, mineral salts, in particular iron, calcium, phosphorus and potassium. It also contains vitamin A and B vitamins. Being small, chickpeas need to be cooked for about 45 minutes.
Chickpeas are a very easy legume to grow, as it adapts to poor and arid soils and then gives great satisfaction as a food, being tasty and substantial.
It is a decidedly rustic plant, which does not need irrigation and is also suitable for very hot climates, it only fears excessive humidity. A humble cultivation, often cultivated in barren areas and poor in resources, which like all legumes also has the advantage of enriching the soil by fixing nitrogen.
The chickpea plant is an annual legume with indeterminate development, which usually reaches about half a meter in height, forming a branched bush on which the leaflets can be seen and on which the flowers are born. These flowers fertilize themselves and the legumes are born from here, single or double seed, not like most legumes that form a pod with numerous grains.
Flowering and ripening are scalar and it is quite common for the flower to abort. The roots of the chickpea are very deep, for this reason it does not fear drought, especially when the plant is now developed.
Like many legumes, even the chickpea plant can be useful for a hock before it goes into flower.
The chickpea is an ideal plant for rotations as like all legumes it enriches the soil with nitrogen. In addition, its deep roots naturally move the soil.
Chickpeas can be collected by uprooting the plants and leaving them to dry hanging, to then shell them later. It is harvested in July, when the dry pods are seen and the plants also begin to turn yellow. Generally between four and six months pass from sowing to harvesting. Growing chickpeas, however, requires a lot of work in terms of harvesting and cleaning, since unlike broad beans and beans, there is only one seed in the pods, at most two, which is why they are not very common in the family garden.