Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Chickpeas

When I titled this post, I couldn't help remember that I originally wanted to name Nina Sprinkles "Chickpea" when she was a teeny, tiny puppy... but that isn't what I intended to blog about...

I started cooking my own beans last summer after reading Mark Bittman's book Food Matters (as recommended to me by my sister-in-law who happens to be celebrating her birthday today - Happy Birthday!). He emphasized the importance of beans in our diet, and I started making a conscious effort to eat more. I started buying heirloom quality beans from Rancho Gordo (also recommended to my by my sister-in-law & their boxes make fun gifts), and wow! there is a big difference in "good" beans vs. regular old grocery store dried beans!

The only problem is that I live in the same convenience world as everyone else, and the process of soaking and cooking beans every time I wanted some seemed a bit much. It was much easier to pull out a can of beans from the pantry, open them, and dump them in whatever I was making. So I started making big batches of beans and freezing them in individual containers about the same size as a can of beans. Just as convenient, less expensive, healthier (no BPA from the cans!), and no more work than making a single batch of beans.

We go through a lot of chickpeas in this family (Jack is crazy about them. Picks them out of any dish to eat individually.), and it was time to make another batch this week. Thought I would share my process (I should have taken more photos... it never occurs to me until I'm halfway through the process!)
  • I get my dried chickpeas from our local Natural Grocer (I now get heirloom beans locally at Extraordinary Ingredients, although I still order occasionally from Rancho Gordo) and usually make 2 bags at a time.
  • I sort and soak the chickpeas for at least 24 hours (no scientific reason I soak them so long, I just think they are better soaked longer).
  • Dump them into a big pot, cover with a few inches of water, bring to a boil, then simmer for several hours (it takes about 6 hours at this altitude!). The chickpeas will be edible but may not have that creamy taste. Turn off the heat and let the chickpeas cool slowly (I usually put the pot in the fridge to cool all night). That's when mine turn creamy.
  • After they are cooled, I put 2 cups (that's a tad more than a can of beans but a few extra beans never hurt, right?) along with some pot juice in ziploc storage containers and freeze.
  • When I need a can of chickpeas, I pull out a container, defrost it, rinse the beans and use!

4 comments:

PopMom said...

How many extra freezers do you have???? My next purchase is a separate freezer.

Tiffany said...

I do the same thing with white and black beans. Now - what do you cook with chickpeas? I would like to cook with them but have no idea what to make!

Angela Miller said...

I love to cook with dried beans too, but I agree the process was/is too much for me. I will have to make a large batch and freeze them. Thanks for the tip!!! I would love some recipes for chickpeas.

rtfgvb777 said...

IS VERY GOOD..............................