How to grow your own fresh chickpeas and what to do with them

chickpea plants

We used to buy chickpeas in a tin or boil them from dried. But then we discovered they are very easy to sprout and grow into plants that bear pods with three green chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) in them.

Start by soaking the dried chickpeas in water overnight. They will expand a lot so make sure you have plenty of water in the cup. Then tip the water out and leave them on a windowsill loosely covered. You can taste one at this point as they become edible surprisingly quickly. If you leave them a couple more days they will grow curly white shoots and make lovely crunchy snacks. When our boys were young we called them piggies as they look like pig tails.

They are good to eat until the shoots get longer and the pea becomes drier, less crunchy. But at this point you can plant them in soil and they will quickly put up a green shoot. Probably best to keep them indoors until the frosts are over.

They become quite graceful, delicate plants 40 – 50cm high. For some reason, if you lick their leaves they taste really tangy. I discovered this when I nibbled one to see if it tasted like normal pea tops. It doesn’t taste of much if you eat it, but if you gently lick a leaf with the tip of your tongue the tang is as strong as citric acid. Maybe it’s a defence thing against insects. (Before I wrote this I should have checked if it was harmful to humans but it didn’t seem to cause me any problems).

They put out bright green, slightly furry pods with three green chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) wedged tightly together.

What to do with your crop of fresh chickpeas?

According to you can shell the chickpeas from the pod, boil for a couple minutes and then toss with olive oil and your favorite spices or herbs. Or throw the whole pod into boiling water and eat as a snack like edamame that is still in the pod.

Apparently you can even eat them raw from the pod like normal peas. They won’t be as juicy as normal peas but they are a lot easier to germinate (I tend to turn normal peas into mush, probably by overwatering them…)

How to use sprouted chickpeas

Whether you grow your own or sprout bought chickpeas, you can add them to hummus, 50/50 with tinned chickpeas so you can a texture a bit like crunchy peanut butter.

You can also add sprouted chickpeas to any dish that calls for tinned chickpeas. They will soften in the cooking process but might still be more nutritious than tinned chickpeas.

Please let me know if you have tried any of the above and let me know how you got on!



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