Monday, March 21, 2011

Basics: Preparing Chickpeas

Chickpeas (garbanzo beans) are really great for a lot of things, but preparing dried chickpeas for use takes a long time. I always make a large quantity of chickpeas and then freeze them in small batches, which I defrost as needed.

I just prepared some last week so there will probably be a few chickpea recipes here in the near future. You can use canned chickpeas in these recipes, but dried beans taste much much better than canned, so it's worthwhile doing this.


Take 1-2 pounds (0.5-1 kilos) of chickpeas (smaller chickpeas are better, if you can get them) and put them in a large bowl with plenty of water and about 1 tsp of baking soda (the latter is optional). Soak them overnight in the water, but make sure they are covered in plenty of water before you go to bed.
Drain the chickpeas and wash them. Then place them in a large pot and cover with plenty of water.

Bring to a boil. You will likely get little "clouds" of foam. Clear them out of the way using a slotted spoon. Lower the heat and cook on a simmer for about 1.5 - 2 hours, stirring occasionally and adding water as necessary, until the chickpeas are quite soft and the water is a muddy color. Salt the chickpeas and taste to make sure they are seasoned. Turn off the heat and allow the chickpeas to cool in the leftover water.

When the chickpeas are cooled, place between 1-2 cups of cooked chickpeas into each container (freezer safe plastic containers are good), and put the containers in the freezer.

When you want to use the chickpeas, simply take out a container and defrost it.

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