Likeable Legume Snacks from ARS Research
Wood November 14, 2007
Garbanzos, lentils, and dry peas and beans can now make crunchy,
great-tasting snacks that are also good for you.
That's according to Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists and their university
colleagues who've created the unique, healthful treats that can come in a
variety of shapes, from crisp bits to tubular puffs.
J. Berrios of ARS'
Regional Research Center in Albany, Calif., and Juming Tang and Barry
Swanson at Washington State University in
Pullman are seeking a patent for the technology that led to the low-sodium,
low-fat, cholesterol-free foods. The snacks are also rich in protein and
The research may help adults and children get the amounts of
vegetables recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Some of the pre-market products have already been taste-tested by
about 500 volunteersmost of whom gave the foods an enthusiastic "thumb's
up." One snack made of crisp, fully-cooked garbanzos is ready to eat
out-of-hand or could be tossed with a salad of leafy greens, sprinkled on a
bowl of hearty soup, or added to traditional party mixes.
The scientists used a standard piece of food processing equipment, a
twin-screw extruder, to make the snacks. Extruders are energy-efficient, fast
and versatile, combininginto just one machineseveral steps
including mixing, cooking, shaping and other processes needed to convert legume
flours into appealing snacks .
Extrusion technology isn't new. But the scientists are the first to
determine the processing speeds, heating temperatures, amounts of moisture and
formulations that create consistent, desirable textures and tastes from every
batch of legume flour.
The USA Dry Pea & Lentil
Council, based in Moscow, Idaho, helped fund the research. Currently,
ARSthe U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agencyis looking for industry
partners to commercialize the nutritious snacks.