The Economics of Chickpeas

Saving money at the grocery is important to most and very important to me.  I found several years ago that by purchasing dried beans and cooking them myself it was much cheaper than buying the canned.  The store brands are sometimes a lot more liquid and less beans.  There is also the concern of the processing methods and additives  Chickpeas are a prime example.

The other day I purchased a 1 pound bag of dried chickpeas aka Garbanzo Beans for $1.99.  After a couple of hours I had enough chickpeas to make hummus a Chickpeas and Cauliflower Curry and then packaging and freezing a couple of bags for later use.  That equates to at least 4 cans of chickpeas but more likely 5 when you consider the liquid in the cans.  Typically I use 1 1/2 cups chickpeas for each of the above mentioned recipes.

Eden Farms has a 15 oz can of chickpeas on-line selling for $2.15 per can.  I choose them because they have excellent quality, the cans are full with minimal liquid as well as being BPA free.  With my liberal packaging I had enough chickpeas for 4 recipes.  That would equate to at least 4 cans at a cost of $8.60 versus the $1.99 I actually spent.  Yes, I could probably have bought a store brand for less money but as I said, Eden Farms has good quality products and for me quality is very important in the food I make.

Preparing the dried product is very easy.  I use a quick soak method of placing the sorted beans in in a pot, cover with water and bring to a boil.  I boil them for 2 minutes, remove from heat, cover pan and allow the beans to soak for 1 hour.  At the end of the hour they are drained, covered with fresh water and cook for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  The cooking time depends on the type of beans being used.  Chickpeas are usually done in the 1 1/2 hour range.  Toward the end of cooking time I typically add in some salt and maybe pepper.  I season them lightly as I plan to use them in various recipes and can add additional seasoning then.  It is much better to add later than to over add during the cooking process.

The hummus recipe I used was actually on the bag and courtesy of Publix. 

Hummus

  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar (I used a red wine vinegar that is organic and labeled gluten free.)
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Hungarian paprika
  • 1/2 cup water or vegetable stock, divided

Place the garlic in the bowl of your food processor and finely chop,, scraping sides of processor as needed.  Add in other ingredients and process, adding in water or stock as needed to reach desired consistency.

Recipe makes 1 2/3 cups which can used as a dip with fresh vegetables or as a spread on crackers or chips.

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