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Peas porridge hot, peas porridge whole: The case against protein fractionation

By Hank Schultz , 07-Aug-2013
Last updated the 07-Aug-2013 at 15:03 GMT

Pulse expert Margaret Hughes says splitting whole foods, such as peas and other pulses, into fractionated ingredients isn't always the way to go.

Hughes, of the Saskatchewan-based family firm Best Cooking Pulses, advocates for using the whole ingredient in this video from the recent Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) show in Chicago.  

"The whole is greater than the sum of the parts," Hughes said. Peas and other pulses provide a plethora of functional properties, including protein, carbohydrates, fats and micro-nutrients, she said.

Hughes also said that fractionating whole pulses takes these crops' sustainability credentials down a notch.

"When you look at the whole pea, it is only 20% protein," she said. "Then you are left with this 80% raw pea starch that still has some protein in it.

"You have this strong sustainability story with pulses. They take less input than other crops. They fix nitrogen in the soil and remove carbon from the atmosphere.  

"But when you fractionate the protein, it is not like other proteins that come from waste streams. This is the primary ingredient.  Then you are processing them down, classifying them into bits and you might have to use a lot of water to do it," she said.

Formulating with whole pulse ingredients might take more ingenuity on the part of formulators, but Hughes said it's worth it.

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