Rare treat: fresh chickpeas

July 14, 2009 | By | Comments (10)

Two summers ago, when we started this one-block diet, I dreamed of growing something I’d had from a street vendor in Turkey: fresh chickpeas. He sold them off the back of a little wagon, a huge bundle festooned with pods. I sat and popped them open, one by one, gobbling the sweet, almost peanut-like morsels inside.

So we tried. Dismal failure.
And then this summer, we tried again. Success! Why? Because this time, we planted them in spring, before scorching weather set in.
Team Kitchen harvested a few and tried them (that’s Stephanie Dean, our test kitchen coordinator on the left, and Amy Machnak, our recipe editor, on the right).
We didn’t have many, but they tasted nearly as sweet and fresh as I remembered.
However, I don’t remember them looking like tiny green brains (see below). Maybe I’d been eating them too fast.
If you’re curious and would like to try these little nuggets, look for them at Mexican and Indian markets starting in early summer. Or grow them yourself! As long as you plant them early, they’re really not so hard to get going.


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  3. Agnes Khounthavong

    i love both chickpeas and greenpeas, although chickpeas has that distinctive nutty taste that i like.^

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  4. Kristy Moon

    Thanks for the info! I actually planted the chickpeas already but soaking is a good idea to file away for next time. If I were a little less impulsive, I bet I would have gotten even better results by pre-germinating the seeds inside.

    March 1, 2011 at 2:15 pm
  5. Johanna

    They needed the cool weather of the springtime to germinate, but will take longer into the warm season to mature (longer than say, snap peas). Also — you might want to soak them overnight if you haven’t planted them yet. Good luck!

    March 1, 2011 at 5:29 am
  6. Kristy Moon

    I’m sorry to be so dense, but I’m still confused. This story seems to indicate that you guys finally had success growing them BECAUSE you realized that they needed cool weather. When was the successful crop sown?

    Split pea crops (the kind of peas that need the extra time to fully develop seeds and dry) also mature in around 100 days. I guess I wonder if the time to get a green garbanzo crop is closer to 70 days (like some peas) rather than 100?

    I actually ended up out in the garden this afternoon with the bag of garbanzos from my pantry. I figure the worst that could happen is that they might just rot in the ground because it is too cold for them to germinate.

    March 1, 2011 at 5:19 am
  7. Johanna

    Kristy — No, they take a lot longer, and they’ll need the heat of summer. http://www.seedsofchange.com/garden_center/product_details.aspx?item_no=PS10817

    February 28, 2011 at 9:07 pm
  8. Kristy Moon

    So do they like approximately the same weather/growing season as peas? I’m so tempted to grab the bag of garbanzos from my pantry and plant them in the garden now!

    February 28, 2011 at 8:30 pm
  9. Margo True

    Thank you, Hank! Makes total sense. And also yet again makes me feel lucky that I live in N. California.

    July 15, 2009 at 1:19 pm
  10. Hank

    You can overwinter chickpeas here in NorCal. Plant in late October and they will survive and set beans in March. If it goes below 30 protect them, though!

    July 14, 2009 at 11:02 pm

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