09 Feb How are pre-cooked chickpeas produced?
Pre-cooked chickpeas or tinned chickpeas are some of the most popular pre-cooked pulses in the world. But, who is actually producing these pre-cooked chickpeas? Where are these pre-cooked pulses being made? and How exactly are tinned chickpeas manufactured? There are many different companies producing these types of tinned foods. A good majority of them are located in Spain and the production thereof requires a strict process by specialists in these products.
There are many tinned foods manufacturers out there which produce pre-cooked chickpeas in different parts of the world. However, Spain is one of the most important countries in this sector since the tinned foods industry is deeply rooted in the country where some of the very first companies founded are located. We’re one of them. We began operating back in the year 1918. That’s more than a century of experience which we’re now making available to the entire world by explaining point-by-point how pre-cooked tinned chickpeas are manufactured.
The process is made up of six steps: reception, hydration, cooking, packaging, sterilization and labelling. After all that, the distribution phase begins to get them out onto the national market or ready for exportation if the destination is outside Spain.
But, we’re going to go step-by-step and tell you about all the phases of pre-cooked chickpea production in the tinned foods industry:
The reception of dried chickpeas.
The first step in the process of producing tinned chickpeas is receiving the dried pulses. Their transport, unloading and storage are highly important. And even more so when you’re talking about producing organic pulses. In our case, we produce both traditional pre-cooked chickpeas as well as organic pre-cooked chickpeas. That’s why we have different warehouses to store the dried chickpeas: the traditional ones go in one warehouse and the ones from organic farming go in another. This separation is essential to ensuring the organic chickpeas do not come into contact with the traditional chickpeas.
Once we have the raw material, it’s transferred from the storage warehouses to the first area of the plant. This area has hydration basins, also known as silos, where we put all the dried chickpeas. These tanks are later filled with water to hydrate the chickpeas. They remain inside for a certain amount of time depending on the end product they will be used for.
Traditional and organic chickpeas are never produced at the same time in order to guarantee organic traceability. We do meticulous cleaning work before manufacturing organic tinned chickpeas for this very reason.
When the chickpeas have already completed the hydration phase, they’re taken to another area where the cooking is done. This procedure is known as scalding and consists of cooking the chickpeas for a very short period of time. It’s done with a specific machine that submerges the chickpeas in water at an exact temperature. Then, they continue along a line where pressurized water is applied to remove any skins. Later, they are moved along a flat area where they undergo vertical movements to shake off any remaining water and make the chickpeas loose.
Pre-cooked chickpea packaging.
The pre-cooked chickpeas are ready! Now it’s time to put them in containers: either glass jars or tins in different weights and dimensions based on each customer’s needs. The process is similar in all cases. A machine dispenses the exact amount in each container and they’re moved along a line where they are later filled with water and a small bit of salt. This is known as preserving liquid and the purpose is to help maintain all of the product’s properties.
Afterwards, the containers are closed with the corresponding lids so they are completely sealed and are moved through a washing area where pressurized water is applied.
The containers of pre-cooked chickpeas are moved along conveyor belts to the sterilization area. They are organized here into several tanks which are put into autoclaves where the sterilization process takes place. This is done by applying a specific pressure and temperature for a certain amount of time to achieve the desired result.
After going through the autoclaves, the pre-cooked tinned chickpeas are taken to the labelling and packaging area. The corresponding labels for each product are affixed to the containers here. The labels may be for one of our brands (Picuezo Selección, Picuezo, Rabinad and Rabinad Bio) or a distributor brand since we also manufacture pre-cooked pulses and organic pulses under distributor brands. They are then organized by boxes of several units and by pallets. And… They’re now ready to begin the trip to supermarket shelves all around the world!