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A family of plants producing pods, often with large seeds. In some variations, such as French beans and mange tout, the pods are also edible. But in many, such as kidney beans, the pods are poisonous unless held at boiling temperature for a minimum of ten minutes. Legumes in general absorb nitrogen from the air, which makes them rich in sources of protein and gives them a useful role in maintaining the fertility of the soil.
In French the word "legume" has a looser definition - simply meaning vegetable. See "Pulses".