What are some characteristics of legumes

Everything about legumes

Reading time: 7 min

What are legumes?

What is there in almost countless shapes and colors? Correct! Legumes! Depending on the variety, they can be green, brown, red, purple or even spotted. They are available in flat, spherical, oblong and curved. In many countries, pulses are one of the most important staple foods. But how do you actually explain "legumes"?

Legumes briefly explained

In short: Legumes are seeds of plants that have matured in a pod. These are elongated carpels, just like you might know from peanuts or pea pods. Some legumes are consumed completely, while others only use the seeds.

The most famous legumes are certainly peas, beans and lentils. But chickpeas and peanuts are also part of the family.

Different types of legumes

Lots of brightly colored lentils

Over 50 different types of lentils grow in India alone. Peeled and halved lentils cook faster than whole, unpeeled lentils, which are best soaked before further preparation. Some varieties taste more nutty than others, some cook more mushy and others stay very firm to the bite. The different types of lenses are usually differentiated according to their size. So apply Plate lenses too largest type of lens.

Overview of lens types

  • Beluga lentils
  • Red lenses
  • Yellow lentils
  • Green lentils

Beans in abundance

White beans, broad beans, green beans - there are also many different types of beans. Especially in many countries in South and Central America, beans like Kidney beans, adzuki beans and Pinto beans, one of the most important staple foods and numerous national dishes are based on beans. Depending on the variety, beans are also suitable as Basis for salads and Stews. Runner beans and French beans For example, they can also be enjoyed as fresh vegetables, in salads or as a side dish, while other varieties have to be dried beforehand. The different types of beans differ in their taste, shape and color, as well as in the soaking and cooking times.

All sorts of peas

Peas belong to the butterfly family and also belong to the legumes. Peas originally come from Asia, but they are also very popular in Europe and Germany. Here they are for example in soups as a deposit used. Peas that are grown in Turkey, India or other distant countries mostly come to us in the household in dried form. However, there are also varieties that can be eaten fresh and are also grown by us. Marrow peas or Peas for example, in Leipziger Allerlei are used and Sweet peas can even be eaten raw or just blanched for a short time.


The peanut belongs to the genus of butterflies. There are around 80 types of peanuts. The peanut we know is the Arachis hypogaea. This is often used as a roasted snack or as an aromatic peanut oil for cooking or refining.


Chickpeas belong to the genus of the tribe Cicereae. They have a slightly nutty note and are wonderful in a hummus, falafel, chickpea curry or spread.

More legumes

  • Flat peas - Comparable to young peas
  • Soybeans - the basis for tofu and meat substitutes
  • Lupins - Common in meat substitutes

Origin of the legumes

After the daisy family and the orchids, the pulses or "legumes" belong to the third largest family of flowering plants. There are over 700 different genera and 18,000 different species are known. Around 150 million tons are produced worldwide every year. This makes legumes one of the most important cultivated plants in the world. The exact origin of the legumes is not exactly clear.

What is known, however, is that they have been cultivated in various countries for many thousands of years and are often used in many recipes and as part of a healthy diet. The most important growing areas for pulses are in Africa, Asia and North and South America.

Would you like to know more about it? We have more articles on growing and harvesting!

Legume quality and ingredients

Quality characteristics of pulses

High quality legumes have smooth skin and are all roughly the same size. In addition, they must not smell musty. In addition, they should of course be free from pests and mold.

  • A wrinkled appearance indicates that the legumes have been stored incorrectly and have been exposed to too much light and heat.
  • The legumes should also have no dark spots or holes. This indicates that they have been attacked by pests or are starting to get moldy.
  • They should also not smell sour or musty. And not be dusty.

If you notice any of these features, we recommend that you dispose of the food.

Ingredients of pulses

Legumes are not only popular as food in the kitchens of vegans and vegetarians, because legumes are valuable suppliers of numerous vital nutrients for every diet. These include protein, minerals, fiber, vitamins and carbohydrates.

Soybeans, for example, are also high in fat, whereas other varieties are rather low in fat. Peanuts are also one of the vegetable sources of fat.