“Without legumes, humanity wouldn’t have make it to the Middle Ages” – Umberto Eco.
For many centuries now, the legumes are part of our everyday nutrition and form the base of the Mediterranean Diet. This is excellent food for all ages, thanks to dietary fibers, metals and mainly proteins, ranking legumes to the higher nutritional value in comparison to any other vegetative food.
All types of legumes are rich in potassium, folic acid, iron and magnesium, phosphor, calcium and natural antioxidants. Moreover, there is low content of fats and salt. Since the legumes contain lysine, if combined with rice, the organic value of the food’s protein is increased. Therefore, recipes like chick-pea rice and lentil-rice are gastronomic and nutritional treasure!
An impressive impact of legumes farming to the environment is their low carbon footprint. The lower carbon footprint, the friendlier a product for the environment. In addition, the legumes, as leguminous plants, may receive nitrogen directly from the atmosphere, thanks to their collaboration with specialized microorganisms that “reside” in their roots and bind the required nitrogen. As a result, no nitric fertilizers are used for the organic legumes whose industrial production, except for the dinitrogen monoxide, requires big quantities of energy and aggravates further the environment.
In the regions of Macedonia and Peloponnese, there is tradition in the cultivation of legumes and especially beans, as evidenced by the recognized Protected Geographical Indications: giant-elephant beans of Prespes, Kastoria, K.Nevrokopi, Flat big-seed beans of Prespes, Medium-seed beans of K.Nevrokopi (in Macedonia) and vanilla of Feneo (Peloponnese), all unique local varieties with long tradition.
The organic Giant-Elephant Beans of Prespes, Florina (PGI 1998) are cultivated around the Lake Mikri Prespa, an area of unique natural beauty and cultural tradition. The cultivation is implemented at 860m. above sea level, in the protected area of National Park Prespes and in small family-run farms. The cultivators keep up dealing with traditional agricultural methods. The local high-quality variety is thin-peeled and easy to prepare (quick boiling time), cultivated in this region since the 16th century. The variety is marked by the extremely big size of beans, their kidney-shaped form and white color.
The organic Flat Big-seed Beans of Prespes, Florina (PGI 1998) are also cultivated around the lake Mikri Prespa on light, warm and fertile soil, rich in nutrients and easily strainable. This variety is marked by the big size of beans, their kidney-shaped form and white color.