Chick-peas, or garbanzos, have been grown in Mediterranean countries since as early as 8000 B.C. Cicer arietinum was a staple of their diet and still plays an important part in the regional cooking of southern Europe. The chick-pea is a delicate, graceful plant which branches near the ground and is usually about two feet high. One or two seeds are borne in numerous round swollen pods about four months from the time of sowing. Garbanzos are a cooler-weather crop and can be sown like peas early in spring. The plants are best thinned to about a foot apart because of their spreading habit.
Dried beans can be made into flour, fresh beans are used in side dished, in salad or pureed into hummus or dessert dips.