Sunday, February 22, 2009

Apple #371: Beans -- chickpeas

This is the fourth entry in a series about Beans.


The chickpeas are inside those pods, usually two beans per pod.
(Photo from Pithy and Clever)

Washed, soaked, in the bowl and ready to eat.
(Photo from All Creatures Vegan - Vegetarian Recipe Book)

I take it back what I said about black beans being my favorite. My true favorite is chickpeas. Garbanzo beans, whatever you want to call them. I LOVE the chickpeas. They have a nutty flavor and they're large enough to feel substantial when biting into them. I just had some about an hour ago, in fact. Sometimes I open a can and eat them by the handful, plain. Often I make a little salad with them. I never measure anything, so the amounts are pure guesswork:
  • 1 can of chick peas
  • 1 or 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • About a third of cucumber (if I have it), diced
  • Three slices or so of onion, minced
  • A good splash of apple cider vinegar, maybe 2 Tbsp?
  • A bigger splash of extra virgin olive oil, maybe 3 Tbsp?
  • Squirt of lemon juice concentrate, about 4 seconds' worth
  • salt
  • pepper
  • lots of grated Parmesan cheese
Takes about 5 or 10 minutes to make. I eat the whole thing in one sitting. It's crunchy, filling, and the celery and cucumber make it refreshing.

I like the chickpeas so well, this is my second time talking about them. I'll try not to duplicate the stuff I said in my previous entry on garbanzo beans.

Categorized as:
  • Pulse
  • People don't generally refer to them as either fruit or vegetable, but they are a fruit.
  • Species name: Cicer arietinum. They're still part of the Fabaceae family, but they're in a different genera than the black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, etc.

General facts:

  • "Garbanzo" is Spanish for "chickpea," so the terms are pretty much interchangeable.
  • First cultivated around 3000 BC -- some say as early as 5400 BC -- in the Middle East. Soon became popular in India, Ethiopia, Egypt, Greek, and Rome.
  • If you're especially bothered by the gas that beans will inevitably give you, choose the garbanzo bean. Of all the beans, they tend to give people the least amount of gas.
  • Flour can be made from chickpeas, and it is gluten-free, a necessity for people with celiac disease.
  • There are actually two major varieties of garbanzo beans, Desi and Kabuli. Desi is smaller and darker while Kabuli is larger and lighter in color. Desi has higher nutritional benefits and is typically the kind milled into flour. Kabuli is more widely available in the US. Most canned chickpeas will be the Kabuli variety.
  • To prepare dry garbanzo beans, boil them in water for 2 minutes, take them off the heat, cover and let stand for 2 hours. Or soak them in water for 8 hours overnight.
  • Always skim off the foam and debris that floats to the top, drain, and rinse.
  • Then you'll need to simmer them in water for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  • Canned chickpeas are much quicker and easier to use, and they retain most of their nutritional value.

Next bean: lentils.

The World's Healthiest Foods, Garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
Nicky Blackburn, Discovering the secret to civilization -- starting chickpea, Israel 21C, January 21, 2007
Wise Geek, What are Chick Peas?
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Canada's Chick Pea Industry
USDA Plants Database, Classification Down to Family Fabaceae
FAO, Definition and Classification of Commodities, 4. Pulses and Derived Products
NationMaster, Encyclopedia, Pulses
Wikipedia, Fabaceae and pulses
Edhat Santa Barbara, Veggie of the Week - Shell Beans

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