As one of the handful of facilities that can process pulse proteins, we at Firebird Artisan Mills couldn’t be more excited that the United Nations proclaimed 2016 “The Year of the Pulses.” Pulse crops are an often-overlooked nutrition source, and it’s finally their time in the sun.
If you aren’t familiar with pulse crops and the products made from them, here is a primer.
Firebird products made from pulses like dried beans, chickpeas, lentils and peas pack a nutritional wallop. They’re gluten-free, low in fat, and free from cholesterol and sodium. They are also a good source of protein, antioxidants, fiber, amino acids and essential nutrients like iron, potassium and folate.
Because they can be eaten whole, ground into flour, or separated into concentrations of protein, fiber and starch, a number of food companies are welcoming the opportunity to take a second look at these ingredients. And with large manufacturers putting plant-based proteins front and center to attract the shifting tastes of health-conscious consumers, pulses can now be found in practically every center aisle—in products like Hampton Creek egg-free mayonnaise, Cascadian Farm’s pea protein bar, Post cereals and Barilla pastas.
Last year Canadian researchers traded wheat flour for yellow pea flour in chicken nugget batter and discovered that the flavor is savory enough to reduce the amount of salt required. Plus, the levels of amylose starch in the peas help to make the nuggets crispier, and the yellow pea gives the nuggets a nice golden hue.
Pulses bring a lot of nutritional value, flavor and texture to the table; but the fact that they’re free of common allergens is even more important to some consumers. Firebird is always happy to answer any questions you might have about reformulating your current product or developing a new one. Organizations like the US Dry Pea and Lentil Council also offer a number of worthwhile resources.
If you’d like to know more about the International Year of the Pulses, click here.
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The US Dry Pea and Lentil Council offers pdfs of their training and support materials here: http://www.pea-lentil.com/archives
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