Chickpea

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The chickpea (Cicer arietinum) (also garbanzo bean, Indian pea, ceci bean, Bengal gram) is an edible legume of the family Fabaceae, subfamily Faboideae. Chickpeas are high in protein and one of the earliest cultivated vegetables; 7,500-year-old remains have been found in the Middle East.[1]

Contents

Etymology

The name "chickpea" traces back through the French chiche to Latin cicer (from which the Roman cognomen Cicero was taken). The Oxford English Dictionary lists a 1548 citation that reads, "Cicer may be named in English Cich, or ciche pease, after the Frenche tonge." The dictionary cites "Chick-pea" in the mid-18th century; the original word in English was chich, found in print in English in 1388, and taken directly from French.

The word garbanzo came to English as "calavance" in the 17th century, from Old Spanish (perhaps influenced by Old Spanish garroba or algarroba), though it came to refer to a variety of other beans (cf. Calavance). The Portuguese arvançu has suggested to some that the origin of the word garbanzo is in the Greek erebinthos.[2] But the Oxford English Dictionary notes that some scholars doubt this; it also mentions a possible origination in the word garbantzu, from Basque — a non-Indo-European tongue — in which it is a compound of garau, seed + antzu, dry.

History

Domesticated chickpeas have been found in the aceramic levels of Jericho (PPNB) along with Cayönü in Turkey and in Neolithic pottery at Hacilar, Turkey. They are found in the late Neolithic (about 3500 BCE) at Thessaly, Kastanas, Lerna and Dimini. In southern France Mesolithic layers in a cave at L'Abeurador, Aude have yielded wild chickpeas carbon dated to 6790±90 BCE.[3]

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