Freezing chickpeas really is a simple task. You're probably thinking that it's just too much trouble and you'll just buy them in cans.
I did that for a while until some disconcerting facts began to emerge. Firstly, if you read the label, all sorts of crap has been added; sugar and salt too. And now there's disturbing evidence that the plastic that is used to line the cans causes cancer.
I keep asking myself if I'm becoming a health nut neurotic, but, no, I don't want to increase the risk of getting cancer; it's already quite high enough. And in any case chickpeas are a lot cheaper if you process them yourself.
We use them as an alternative form of protein, adding them to our beef
and mutton stews, and soups, for our authentic hummus recipe, seen above,
and for making low GI bread. I also use them for thickening for our green chilli, for example, instead of refined cornstarch.
It takes about fifteen minutes of your actual time, once a month, to cook and freeze your chickpeas. That's not too bad.
Two of the steps however do take time, but you don't have to sit and watch them imbibing water. Just start the process and go to bed. Once the pressure cooker is beginning to spurt steam, turn it down and do something else for half an hour.
Freezing chickpeas is a simple task taking no more than fifteen minutes of your time.
I'm as sad as the rest of you about the research concerning red meat; up to a point you can have your cake and eat it; by adding plenty of vegetables and salads to your dinners.
But in the end we need to be enjoying smaller portions of red meat, and having vegetable protein substitutes; chickpeas are my favourite and soya beans the least.
The process can be divided up into five individual steps, none of them arduous or time consuming, and made a great deal easier with a pressure cooker.
Otherwise they take a long time to cook.
You start off by locating dried chickpeas, or garbanzo beans as they are sometimes called; that incidentally may be the most difficult part of the process. I purchase at least half a dozen packets at a time.
A kilogram, costing less than two dollars, lasts us about a month. Hummus really makes a salad and if you love baking bread as I do, then a dollop turns your loaf into low GI.
Let's look at these individual steps.
To soak the chickpeas simply pour a couple pounds of the dried legumes into a large pot, cover generously with water, and go to bed; I use the pressure cooker. That chore takes me all of two minutes in the evening; not to onerous, eh?
Next morning you'll discover they've swollen to double the size, and you may have to add more water.
It's worth rinsing and draining them once or twice; folk say they give less gas then, but in fact we have no trouble; it also inhibits the work of any phytates in the chickpeas, they inhibit absorption of minerals. That's another two minutes of your time taken up. Pour off all the surplus water.
One little advantage is that they absorbe so much water; together with all the natural fibre in chickpeas, you'll find that your woes on the toilet are likely a matter of the past, or least half way there.
More water and extra fibre are the solution to chronic constipation.
To cook your chickpeas, I make a plea for a pressure cooker, otherwise they take a long hour and half of slow boiling.
Add plenty of boiling water, almost covering the chickpeas as they seem to go on absorbing water during cooking. Bring them up to pressure, and get on with something else for half an hour.
That might take you five minutes, nine in total so far.
Turn off the heat, and start the breakfast. Once the pressure has dropped, add plenty of fresh cold water, and rinse them several times.
To drain your chickpeas use an ordinary colander; it's not critical that they are completely dry, but it does make it easier to separate your frozen chickpeas if you want only half a packet.
Rinsing and draining could take you up to five minutes. I do it at least three, and perhaps five times; those phytates.
Freezing chickpeas at last has arrived; you've no doubt been wondering when I'd get there!
Using a small plastic cup, scoop your cooked chickpeas into packets and tie them with a rubber band. Drop them into the deep freeze.
This made seven generous packets from a kilogram of dried garbanzo beans.
So, fifteen minutes or a little longer, once a month; it's a very small chore, and will significantly boost the family's health.
Healthy choice foods, made with a minimum of effort is what my Bernard Preston site is all about; freezing chickpeas is one tiny part of the whole.
It's not sensible, or even possible to rate one natural vegetable over another; but chickpeas score very high on my list of healthy choice foods because they enable us to reduce our reliance on red meat for protein.
Freezing chickpeas simply reduces the hassle factor; using them becomes so easy.
Processed red meat is the real devil; avoid it at all costs if you value your health. Sadly that means bacon and ham too; for high and holy days only.
And unlike soya beans, chickpeas are very nice; they aren't the world's favourite vegetable high in protein for nothing. We eat them virtually every day in one way or another; hummus most often.
See the dollop of hummus below? It really makes a salad, together with a squirt of olive oil and fresh lemon juice.
Interestingly I've been eating two or three whole corn on the cob every day for the past month and haven't put on an ounce. Fresh from the garden they are a delight.
Though the critics rave about raw beets, I prefer to turn them into borscht. Bernie's beetroot soup is another dream; slow food, made fast. There again you need that pressure cooker, or they take an age. Greenies like us can
do it using solar power; you could too, but that is a big home project.
Solar pressure cooking is just as easy on the induction stove, or any hob in fact.
Low GI bread with added hummus is so easy; it takes me five minutes to mix the dough. By freezing chickpeas you just make the process more simple and quicker.
Since we make hummus twice a week using this freezing chickpeas technique, it's so easy to add a tablespoon or two to the dough.
To lower the glycemic index of any food, simply add fat and protein. To make low GI bread, I just mix in a couple tablespoons of hummus, and a healthy dollop of butter to the dough.
If you make sourdough, then add the hummus the next day just before starting the bread machine; it goes off quickly. In fact on the third day, the last of the hummus always goes into the sourdough bread recipe; it doesn't keep.
I've discovered there's a marvelous synergy of green living; having a pressure cooker for the dried beans, means you also have a ready source of frozen chickpeas available for hummus, which greatly improves the taste and health of your homemade bread.
With my salad, I've undone some of the good by enjoying a smear of raw honey; even that though is lightly filtered meaning it has pollen granules. That's where the bees get their protein and fat.
In the context of the whole meal, a little honey, a teaspoon or two, has little glycemic affect.
Have no concern about the phytates in wholemeal flour and chickpeas; they do bind small amounts of iron and zinc for example, but in the overall context of our food the effect is minimal. Would you rather get all your protein from red meat?
Authentic hummus recipe is a chore if you don't have the frozen legumes readily available. Since we enjoy hummus almost every day with our salads, freezing chickpeas is a task for every couple weeks.
It's so quick and easy, and this healthy hummus recipe is equally simple.