Freezing chickpeas

Freezing chickpeas really is a simple task. You are probably thinking that it is 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 chemicals have been added; sugar and salt too. And now there is disturbing evidence that the plastic that is used to line the cans causes malignant disease.

Freeze chickpeas in packets

This page was last updated by Bernard Preston on 20th April, 2021.

I keep asking myself if I am becoming a neurotic, but, no, I do not want to increase the risk of getting tumours; it is already quite high enough in my family. And in any case chickpeas are a quarter of the price 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

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.

  • Soak the chickpeas
  • Pressure cook
  • Rinse
  • Drain
  • Freeze

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.

Soak the chickpeas

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, 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 to be a matter of the past, or least half way there.

More water and extra fibre are the solution to chronic constipation.

Cook your chickpeas

To cook your chickpeas, I make a plea for a pressure cooker, otherwise they take a long hour and a half of slow boiling.

Add plenty of boiling water, almost covering the chickpeas as they seem to go on absorbing the liquid 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 remove the phytates.


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Drain your chickpeas

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

Freezing chickpeas at last has arrived; you've no doubt been wondering when I would get there!

Using a small plastic cup, scoop your cooked chickpeas into packets and tie them with a rubber band; we now use clothes pegs. Drop them into the deep-freezer.

This made seven generous packets from a kilogram of dried garbanzo beans.

So, fifteen minutes or a little longer, once a month is all it takes; it is a very small chore, and will significantly boost the family's well-being.

Choice foods

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 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 well-being. Sadly that means bacon and ham too. They are 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 is often the most popular.

Do you see that dollop of hummus below? It really makes a salad, together with a squirt of olive oil and fresh lemon juice.

Interestingly I have 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.

Chickpea hummus makes a salad.

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

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 a large tub of hummus once a week using this freezing chickpeas technique, it's so easy to add a tablespoon or two to the dough.

Low GI bread with chickpea hummus in 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 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 fourth day, the last of it always goes into the sourdough recipe; it doesn't keep.

I've discovered there is 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 nutrition 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 is 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?

Are phytates bad? To find out copy and paste into the search engine below.

Authentic hummus recipe

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 month.

It's so quick and easy, and this hummus recipe is equally simple.

Making hummus from chickpeas is easy using these ingredients.

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56 Groenekloof Rd,

Hilton, KZN

South Africa