Going Gonzo for Fresh Garbanzo Beans: aka Fresh Chickpeas

by Pamela

fresh chickpeas, fresh garbanzo beans, green chickpeas
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You’ve had ‘em dried, you’ve had ‘em canned heck, you’ve even had them in flour form…but did you know you can have ‘em fresh too? What am I talking about? Garbanzo beans, aka chickpeas, are now available to all you non-gardeners in their fresh from the field form (pods and all). These little cuties (seriously,  how cute are these little pods) are what chickpeas look like when they come right out of the field. Okay, they actually grow on stems in bush form, and in some places you actually buy them that way but the pods are what encase the fresh chickpeas. These little green guys are going to become one of your favorite snacks, very quickly.

I got my hands on a rather large bag of these fresh garbanzo beans, courtesy of Melissa’s Produce. What I originally thought was a huge amount of chickpeas has dwindled very quickly. I’ve been making recipe after recipe with them and finding myself just eating a bowl of these green chickpeas while working at my computer.

I had read about several people using these fresh chickpeas the same way they would make edamame: steam them then sprinkle with salt. While that sounded good, I wasn’t convinced that was the best way to cook them since their pods are much thinner than an edamame pod. (But they do work well cooked this way.)

Pan seared fresh garbanzo beans

After I stopped shelling them and just popping one after the other into my big fat mouth (green chickpeas taste similar to fresh green peas), I opted to char them in a dry skillet then drizzle them with good olive oil and a generous sprinkle of sea salt.

I’m not going to sugar coat it…shelling these things gets quite tedious, especially since there’s usually only one chickpea in a shell (sometimes you hit the jackpot and get two). Having grown up picking, shucking and shelling all kinds of produce, you aren’t EVER going to hear me talk about how cathartic or meditative it is…it SUCKS, plain and simple. But, sometimes you just gotta do the work to get the things you like. So suck it up sister (or brother). Or have your kids do it…isn’t that why you had them in the first place, to do the chores you don’t like to do? Besides, they’ll think it’s fun (for a few minutes anyway) since the pods make a popping noise when you squeeze them open.

Fresh garbanzo beans do have a growing season that varies depending on where you live, but they’re practically available year round.

Fresh Chickpea Recipes

I can promise you this, there will be a few more recipes posted utilizing fresh chickpeas in the coming weeks. I wasn’t kidding when I said that I really like them and have started making lots of dishes with them. Another big plus, Craig really likes them too (especially the recipe for the charred green chickpeas I’m posting today).

Have you found these in your market yet? If so, what have you made with them?

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2 comments

Dorothy at ShockinglyDelicious August 13, 2012 at 10:34 am

You and I are thinking along the same lines….here’s my version from early June! These babies are sooooo delicious! http://www.shockinglydelicious.com/introducing-fresh-garbanzo-beans-the-new-edamame/

Pamela August 13, 2012 at 5:38 pm

I am so hooked on them it’s ridiculous. I don’t even mind shelling them…what’s wrong with me? I hate doing that stuff.

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