International Hummus Day was founded in 2012 and is celebrated on May 13th every year! But what makes this such an iconic cross-cultural food?
History of Hummus:
No one can say for certain where hummus was originally invented although according to most historians the earliest mention of the spread comes from 13th century Egypt. This delicious spread has been enjoyed by people throughout the Middle East and Mediterranean for thousands of years. The term ‘hummus’ directly translates to ‘chickpea’ in Arabic, and can be seen with various other spellings such as ‘houmous’, ‘humus’, ‘hommus’ or ‘hommos’. Chickpeas are the main ingredient in preparing hummus, and are usually mixed with tahini (condiment made from toasted ground sesame), garlic, and olive oil with other ingredient variations depending on the culture of the people who made it.
What are chickpeas:
Chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans, are actually seeds of the legume plant. Chickpea plants are one of the oldest cultivated plants on the earth, first domesticated in Turkey between 8500-7500 BC, spreading across the Mediterranean coastline and neighboring countries and then eventually to India. India is now the world's number one supplier of chickpeas, producing around 12 million tons in 2021. Some varieties of chickpeas include the kabuli, desi, and chana dal chickpeas. Kabuli chickpeas are the ones most commonly found in supermarkets and have a mild and nutty flavor!
As well as tasting great, hummus is also a smart choice for a health-conscious snack that’s great for your digestive system! It’s low in fat and high in protein, with large amounts of dietary fiber, manganese and other nutrients. The use of extra virgin olive oil contains healthy fats and may help prevent cardiovascular disease. You can dip almost anything in hummus, like apples, pretzels, celery, pita bread, chicken, and eggplants. While it tastes great on its own, it’s delicious with toppings like chopped tomatoes, parsley, cucumbers, caramelized onions, olives, pine nuts, and more! It's a versatile canvas for different flavor combinations!
Eat at a restaurant that serves Middle Eastern food or make it yourself from scratch using our A to Z World Food database for recipes and more information on this and other foods from this region!
Check out the different variations of hummus and other dishes from across the Middle East and Mediterranean with these cookbooks!