Pulse Flour Making Its Way Into Food Products

crops beans white2 jan282011

Flours made from pulse crops are beginning to make their way into food products found on grocery store shelves.

The Canadian International Grains Institute is working with the pulse industry and food companies to improve pulse milling technology.

"There is a lot of research work being done on using pulse flours as value-added food ingredients," explains Heather Maskus, Manager of Cigi's Pulse Milling Project.

She notes wheat milling is a process that has been developed over thousands of years.

"The pulse flour milling industry is still quite new. We're still learning how different milling techniques can affect the flour properties," explains Maskus.

Cigi is now to the point of working with food companies to use pulse flours as ingredients.

"Some of the food applications that may be on store shelves soon are things like battered products, like a chicken nugget, snack foods, like a cheesy or cheeto, crackers, pasta, tortillas and pita bread," she says.

So far, most of the research has focused on yellow peas.

"That's they're widely available, but we're also working on other pulses. Right now we're working with red and green lentils, navy and pinto beans, and we're also looking at chickpeas. Maybe in the future we'll also do some work with fababeans," she says.

Maskus explains food companies value the nutritional benefits of pulses, as well as the environmental benefits associated with pulse production.