Chickpeas are the seed of the annual plant Cicer arietinum, of the pea (Fabaceae, or leguminosae) family, widely grown for its nutritious seeds. The oldest records of the cultivated chickpea are from Turkey. Historians assume that the crop spread globally from that area to the Middle East and North Africa. Today, chickpeas are popular throughout China, India, North and Eastern Africa, Europe, the Americas and Australia. Chickpeas are consumed fresh as green vegetable, parched, fried, roasted and boiled. They are also consumed as a snack food, sweets and condiments. They are also ground into flour and used to make soup, bread and sweetmeats.