Rice and Pulses
Rice is nutritious and healthy and is one of the most famous foods in the world. There is no clear information about when rice cultivation began in Greece, although it is known that it has been cultivated for the last two centuries. The importance of rice as a foodstuff was very minor before the Second World War. After then, rice cultivation became more intensive and rice consumption started to increase gradually. The Greek varieties of rice are glace, nichaki, carolina and are quite popular since it is the basic ingredient for many greek local dishes such as gemista and temperatures and rainfall, calcium-rich soil, and good drainage of the terrain.
Pulses are fruit crops, like beans, lentils, chickpeas, broad beans, peas, soybeans, fava beans, clover and locust beans. They are an excellent protein source, substitutes for animal proteins to a certain extent. They have been part of human nutrition since ancient times.
Back in the old days they were considered the "meat of the poor". Nowadays they are a key component of modern gastronomy, used in a variety of fancy dishes rich in vitamins, potassium, folic acid, iron, magnesium and protein. Low in fat, pulses are essential for a balanced and healthy daily diet and they are one of the main reasons for which the value of mediterranean diet is recognized worldwide.
They contain fibers which facilitate bowel movements, help battle constipation and lower cholesterol levels. It is strongly recommended to eat pulses twice or three times a week, especially for those who avoid eating meat or consuming dairy products. They can be preserved for about 6 months, preferably in cotton bags.
Many quality varieties are cultivated in Greece. Prespa giant beans, Santorini fava beans, Englouvi (Lefkada) lentils are just a part of our large pulses' production, famous across the world for their taste and nutritional value.
The Hellenic Ministry of Rural Development and Food has registered many types of pulses as products with Protected Designation of Origin (P.D.O.): the Kato Nevrokopi beans and lima (or elephant) beans, Prespa lima (or elephant) beans and flat beans, Kastoria giant beans, Feneos vanilla-beans, Santorini fava beans.
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