A Healthy Pulse

The United Nations has declared 2016 "The Year of the Pulses". 

Pulse in the United Nations context has nothing to do with checking your own cardiovascular pulse. Instead, it refers to edible plants in the legume family including: lentils, beans, dried peas and chickpeas.

The term "pulse" is from the Latin "puls" meaning thick soup, which makes sense because many of our pulse crops are used to thicken-up soups while also adding terrific flavour.

Many pulse crops grow wonderfully on the prairies and although, technically, pulses only refer to the dried seed of crops like peas and beans, there’s nothing to say that you can’t eat them when they are young and tender!

Pulses are outstanding sources of essential minerals and are high in protein. As well, pulses, being legumes, enrich soil by capturing nitrogen from the air around their roots (thanks to a symbiotic relationship with nitrogen "fixing" bacteria) and convert it into ammonium and nitrate fertilizer. 

So what’s not to love with pulses? They’re tasty, nutritious, grow wonderfully on the prairies, and are also a free source of nitrogen fertilizer.

Given that pulses are such nutritious farm and garden plants, maybe pulse does refer to cardiovascular health as well.  

~Jim Hole