MISSOULA – UM Dining at the University of Montana has received a $45,800 grant from the Montana Pulse Advisory Committee to purchase an industrial pressure cooker.
The pressure cooker will make it possible for UMD to significantly increase purchases of Montana-grown pulse crops like lentils, dried peas and garbanzo beans. This will lead to an increase in the volume of pulses served across the campus and facilitate UMD’s effort to educate the hundreds of thousands of guests served annually about healthy and sustainable diets focused on high-quality plant proteins.
Montana produces more dried peas and lentils than any other state. Cooking most pulses without a pressure cooker requires a significant investment of time and labor. In UMD’s main operations kitchen, where hundreds of meals are prepared daily, it currently is unfeasible to occupy large amounts of kitchen space for several hours in order to cook most pulses.
“An industrial pressure cooker will drastically reduce the time and labor required to process these sustainable, nutritious superfoods, cutting the cooking time from several hours to less than 30 minutes,” UM Dining Director Mark LoParco said. “The space, time and labor that the pressure cooker will save will allow us to switch from purchasing canned, pre-cooked pulses, grown and processed outside of the state, to buying dried Montana-grown pulses and processing them right here on campus.”
The opportunity for UMD to leverage their purchasing power in support of Montana pulse growers is substantial. With the new pressure cooker, UMD can purchase dried Montana-grown pulses instead, helping to support this growing industry while educating consumers on the health and environmental benefits of pulse crops.