Why Plant Legumes and Dried Fruits in Your Garden? – Informative Guide

Translated by Nick R

As we have seen recently, people are increasingly looking for alternatives to improve their diet and have good health. For this reason, they choose to include in their diet a higher intake of organic foods.

In a previous blog, we talked about vegetables and fruits, but this time I want to initiate you into legumes and dried fruits. They are another part of the organic foods you can consume to improve your health.

Here I’ll tell you what legumes and dried fruits are, their benefits, varieties, characteristics, advantages, disadvantages, and how to grow some of them. Stay to the end because this is very helpful information for you, your family and your friends.

What are legumes?

Legumes are the seeds found inside the plant’s pod. The pod is that small branch that holds the leaf, the inflorescence, or the fruit of the plants.

These seeds belong to the legume family and include lentils, chickpeas, peas, broad beans, white lupin, soybeans, grass peas and carob.

Types of legumes

As I mentioned earlier, there is a wide variety of legumes in the legume family. Below, you’ll learn a little more about them.


Beans are native to Central America and have a great variety of species. You can find, kidney beans, black beans, white beans, broad beans, pinto beans, tolosana beans, etc.

They are rich in fiber and fermentable carbohydrates and help stimulate lazy bowels. Also, they are a great source of protein, help lower cholesterol levels, and contribute to cardiovascular diseases prevention.

To cook the beans, you soak them overnight to shorten the cooking time, improve digestibility and eliminate possible toxic compounds. In case you don’t do this step, you’ll need to implement another technique.

This technique consists of pre-cooking the beans for 10 minutes and draining them afterward. Then replace the water for the second cooking; at this point, you add the aromatic herbs or other ingredients of your choice; cook at low heat. The cooking time will be as long as you consider necessary according to your taste.

Taken from Pinterest


They are native to the Mediterranean basin and come from the Lens esculenta Moench species. They characterize by a great variety of seed colors; they can be found:

  • Green
  • Green – yellowish
  • Blond
  • Yellow
  • Orange
  • Pardinas (the most common)
  • Red and blue-green

These legumes are the most easily digested because they contain low levels of cellulosic fibers and non-assimilable carbohydrates. In addition, their consumption is not advised and recommended for those with sensitive or slow digestion.

They are known as a good source of iron, especially when combined with zinc and vitamin B9, as these elements are used in the fight against anemia. On the other hand, lentils can be implemented in various dishes and with other ingredients.

You can make soups, salads, puree, and even vegan burgers. They can also accompany pork, red meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, and potatoes, among other foods.

Image author: Maria Kalashnik


Chickpeas are native to the Mediterranean basin and have been cultivated for many years. They belong to the species Cicer Arietinum L and come in different varieties. Those are the Castilian, the milky white, the Andalusian venous, the chamade and the pedrosillanos chickpeas.

They contain a small proportion of lipids and fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin E and carotenes. They are rich in fiber, have a high concentration of minerals, and contain magnesium, iron and calcium.

They function as a companion ingredient in recipes such as soups, stews, snacks, and as with lentils, you can make burgers with this legume.

Taken from: https://www.enestadocrudo.com/tipos-legumbre/


Unlike other legumes, peas are not very rich in fiber, but they are tolerable indigestion. They have low levels of vitamins and minerals compared to other legumes; however, their nutritional content is still significant.

Their taste is mild and pleasant for children. Besides, you can make croquettes, hamburgers, omelets, creamy soups, stews and salads.

Taken from Pinterest


It’s a seed that has been harvested in Asia for a long time. It can be consumed in various presentations such as soy juice, raw seeds, soy sauce, fermented soybeans, etc.

In addition, you can find varieties of soybeans different in color: yellow, brown, green, black or mottled, i.e., with spots. It has a high protein and lipid content, the latter, present mostly in the seeds.

It’s also rich in calcium and magnesium, which are more effective because soybeans contain natural vegetable substances that help their fixation and retention by the body. It’s also known for its role in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.

Taken from The Food Tech

Benefits of legumes

As I mentioned before, some legumes are to reduce the risk of heart attacks or cardiovascular problems. This occurs when replacing animal protein with vegetable protein. Animal protein contains saturated fats, high levels of cholesterol, and more purines. These can produce elevated uric acid levels when decomposing in the body, leading to the known gout disease.

They help stabilize blood glucose levels and prevent diabetes. That is because legumes are rich in fiber and help keep glucose balanced.

Beans serve as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. Thanks to this, they contribute to reducing the risk of intestinal cancer.

They provide fiber, proteins, carbohydrates, B vitamins, iron, copper, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus. All these elements allow the proper operation of various organs and body tissues.

Thanks to legumes fiber and starches, the satiety sensation occurs promptly. That prevents you from overeating and can help with weight loss.

Disadvantages of legumes

Legumes offer multiple benefits; however, there are a few contraindications worth mentioning. Everything depends on the reasonable consumption of any food in general.

As they contain fermentable carbohydrates and fiber, legumes can irritate the intestinal mucosa of some people. It’s advisable not to consume these foods if you’re in an acute crisis. Outside such times, legumes can be consumed in small quantities.

If you’re an athlete, it’s not recommended the intake of legumes before an intense physical effort or a competition. Because they can affect the athlete’s performance if they aren’t properly digested. However, you can consume them in small quantities after some physical activity.

It’s not recommended to incorporate legumes into the diets of children under 2 or 3 years. That’s because they could cause an acceleration of the intestinal transit, which gives rise to episodes of diarrhea or painful gastric bloating. At the age of 4 or 5 years, children can have legumes in their diet, but only in small quantities and not more than 1 or 2 times a week.

What are nuts and dried fruits?

They are those fresh fruits that have been dehydrated for consumption. In addition, there are two types of nuts. First, the oleaginous fruits whose seed is rich in fat. They include almonds, peanuts, walnuts, among others.

Then, we have dried fruits such as plums, raisins, bananas, etc. As a generality, they have a composition rich in fatty oils, which work to reduce cholesterol levels and cardiovascular problems.

Thanks to their caloric value, they are highly recommended for physically active people. As these are calcium-rich fruits, you can replace daily foods for them; if you’re lactose intolerant.

They are also rich in vitamin E which has antioxidant properties and B vitamins. Also, they can be cooked with different foods such as meats, vegetables, pasta, fish and poultry.

Since they are dehydrated they contain 20 to 25% water, which allows for higher energetic content. Thanks to this, nuts can be consumed by children, adolescents, adults and athletes.

Types of dried fruits

As you know, there are 2 types. Let’s start with dried fruits.


They characterize by being rich in carotenes, just like the fresh fruit. Carotenes are antioxidants that help slow down skin aging.

This fruit is rich in iron and works perfectly as a supplement for those who don’t eat a lot of meat.

It has a mild fiber content which helps balance intestinal transit.


They have a laxative effect due to their high fiber content, which helps to stimulate intestinal transit without irritating. These fruits also contain carotenes, iron, potassium, and vitamin E, which reinforces the antioxidant properties of this fruit.


They are rich in carbohydrates and have a high energy intake, which makes them suitable for physically active people. Dates have a high content of carbohydrates, iron, potassium and phosphorus. As well as contain vitamins A, B2, B3, C and tryptophan.


They are very effective against intestinal laziness as they contain stimulating fibers. They have high levels of calcium that favor the assimilation and fixation of calcium in the skeleton.

They provide more energy than fresh figs and have potassium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, and vitamins A, B and C. You can consume them in compotes, stews, casseroles, pastries, or alone.


They are one of the most consumed dried fruits and are also recommended for athletes since they cover the high needs of carbohydrates. They provide minerals, fiber, small amounts of protein, sodium, calcium, iron, and high potassium content.

Dried Banana

They are dried banana slices with increased potassium and magnesium content. Thanks to potassium, this fruit has been attributed to having diuretic properties. As for magnesium, it helps to improve sleep quality and prevents muscle cramps.

It contains glucose, fructose and sucrose, is rich in fiber, and can be compared to energy bars, only that it’s natural.

Types of oleaginous fruits


Contains vitamins, iron, calcium, magnesium, and monounsaturated fats. Almonds help to reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. It also provides protective and anti-aging properties.

Cashew nuts

Like peanuts, they are very rich in saturated fatty acids. They have high iron and magnesium content, which helps women with low levels of these elements.


They are very rich in iron and folic acid, which promote the synthesis of red blood cells. They have high levels of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, vegetable fiber, vitamins E and B6, mineral salts, and trace elements.

It helps to reduce cellular aging and is highly recommended for pregnant women.


They contain high levels of proteins and are widely used by vegetarians as these fruits help them complement their diet. They have well-balanced lipids and a high folic acid content (vitamin B9).


They are rich in polyunsaturated acids and acids such as omega 3, which help reduce cholesterol and improve the immune system. It has minerals and vitamins E and B6 to balance the nervous system and tone muscles.

It also has omega 6 which works to reduce arteriosclerosis risk and improve circulation.

Pine nuts

These are seeds of some types of pine trees. They have high levels of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and help reduce cholesterol levels. They also help to improve nervous system function. They are nutritious and have toning properties.


They have high levels of minerals such as magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, and trace elements that help fight anemia. They are a great source of B vitamins and fiber, which makes them ideal for constipation.

Their monounsaturated fats content helps reduce cholesterol levels, triglycerides, and blood pressure.

Sunflower seeds

They are rich in vitamins E, which function as antioxidants, B vitamins and minerals. They can be used for salty or sweet preparations, and you can also roast them. This way, you can enhance their flavor.

Sesame or sesame seeds

It’s often used for bread production. It’s very rich in mono and polyunsaturated acids and has few saturated fatty acids. It contains minerals, vitamins, and trace elements that have antioxidant properties.

Advantages and disadvantages of dried fruits

Same as legumes, nuts and dried fruits have more advantages than disadvantages. I have mentioned them in each type; however, some can be a little irritating for the digestive system of people with sensitivity in this area.

So, you can analyze if it suits you or not after considering the nutritional properties that I have described for each fruit and consume them with peace of mind.     

Nutritional pyramid

Now that you know a bit more about these organically grown foods that represent healthy eating conditions, I’ll present the nutritional pyramid proposed by the Spanish Society of Community Nutrition (SENC).

In this pyramid, you see the recommendations for a balanced diet as it explains in detail from bottom to top, the healthy lifestyle that everyone should have. Also, the main foods for consumption, foods for varied and occasional consumption, among other factors.

The nutritional pyramid provides tips for a balanced diet.

2 legumes and nuts that you can grow in your garden

With all the information you already know about legumes and nuts, it’s time to learn about the cultivation of some of these foods. This way, although it may be easier to buy them, you can also have them in your garden and get healthy and delicious preparations.


Taken from Pinterest

This is an annual herbaceous plant that grows 30 to 60 cm tall. You can sow the seeds in winter if you live in a cold climate area or in autumn in warm climates.

Its leaves are small and oval, the flowers are white, and it has small brown pods that contain 2 to 4 seeds. As you saw before, seeds of different colors can exist.

Cultivation and harvesting of lentils

As they grow from seeds, you can take a few of them and leave them in a glass of water for 3 hours. Once this time has passed, remove the water from the glass and leave the seeds to rest overnight in a cool place with little light.

When you see that the roots start to grow, proceed to prepare your seedbed to sow the seeds there. The substrate you’ll use should be of the sandy type, with good drainage and a little compost.

Sow the seeds 1 cm deep and cover them with a thin layer of compost. Water until the substrate is moist but without puddling. When they grow the second pair of true leaves, you can repot the plant into its final location.

Make sure that the transplanting substrate is sandy, with good drainage and compost, so that the plant can develop properly. Sow at a distance of 15 to 20 cm between plants.

You can place it outdoors in a semi-shade at temperatures of 6 to 28 °C and water it as soon as the substrate dries out a little.

It’ll be harvested in late spring or summer when the plant has a yellowish appearance. Cut the stems where the pods are, then place them on a container or cloth to collect the seeds.

You can store these seeds in a dry glass jar and place them in a cool place. They are ready to be cooked whenever you want.

Care for lentils

As I already mentioned, irrigation frequency will depend on the local weather and if the substrate gets slightly dry.

Be especially careful with pests that can affect your plant. Use a homemade insecticide or the one of your choice if necessary.

Prevent weeds from growing around the plant, this way, there will be no competition over nutrients. Finally, remove the dried and wilted leaves to prevent the appearance of diseases.

Almond tree

Taken from Pinterest

This fruit tree prefers warm climates. In cold conditions, it may not develop adequately. Its trunk is smooth green barked when young and cracked with a brown and grayish bark when old.

Its leaves are lanceolate, long, narrow and pointed. They are of intense green color and with serrated or scalloped edges. As for its flower, it’s a pentamerous plant, meaning, it has 5 petals with colors ranging from white to pink. Its fruit is a drupe, which contains inside the so-called almond seed.

Cultivation and harvesting of almonds

You can plant the seeds or directly the almond tree. The procedure using seeds is the same as that mentioned above for lentils. With the help of a seedbed, the right substrate, constant watering, and a suitable location to germinate.

However, it’s much more advisable to sow the tree directly. By doing so, you can ensure somewhat more the plant’s development. You should use a light, well-drained and fertile substrate.

It should be placed where it can receive a lot of sunlight, and if it’s windy, you can nail a stick close to the tree to hold it up. The depth will depend on the size of the roots as they must be very well-positioned.

You can apply a nitrogen-rich fertilizer and water abundantly to moisten the substrate. After that, watering can be done once a week unless it rains.

The almond can be harvested once the drupe has split and the shell has become dry and brown. The seed will take at least 180 to 240 days to mature and be consumed.

You can use a picking device or simply shake the tree a little to make the fruits drop. And freeze them for 1 to 2 weeks to remove residual worms.

Care for almonds

The ideal temperature for the almond tree is 15 to 18 °C, so make sure to have these conditions where you live. Keep the surroundings of the tree clean to avoid potential diseases or pests.

Newly planted trees need regular watering, so you can employ a drip irrigation system for this. In the same way that young almond trees are fertilized with nitrogen, mature almond trees need to be fertilized during flowering in spring with manure compost.

It’s necessary to prune the tree so that it can properly thrive. This procedure can be done in winter as the tree is dormant by then. Remove dead or diseased branches and leaves, and cut the side branches that have grown too much. This way, you’ll control the almond tree’s size.

Well, I hope this information has helped you a lot and that you have learned more about healthy foods. Remember to incorporate legumes and nuts, as well as fruits and vegetables, into your diet. You won't regret it, and they will provide you with great benefits.