Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans or chana, are a common legume. The first domesticated garbanzo bean plants were found in Turkey during the pre-pottery neolithic era. Garbanzo bean seeds first arrived in the Mediterranean around 6000 BCE. They were first used in India in 3000 BC.
The chickpea plant is a type of annual legume that takes about 100 days to fully mature, starting from when the seedlings are transplanted. This plant can grow to be 8-20 inches tall, and has a shallow root system. This is a plant with lots of branches and soft, fuzzy hair covering them. Each branch has 3-8 pairs of hairy leaflets that are arranged alternately. As the plant matures, white flowers with blue, purple, or pink veins bloom either singly or in pairs. The flowers bloom at the tip of each branch. The flowers of garbanzo bean plants can pollinate themselves, and if the seeds aren’t collected and harvested, new plants can grow from them. The flowers die away and flat green pods form. Each pod contains 1 to 2 seeds. The plant can dry to a point where 90% of the pods turn brown before harvest. Raw chickpeas can be extracted a few weeks before drying, or they can be dried first.
The primary reason to grow garbanzo beans is for their pea-like seeds. They’re used raw, dried, ground, or popped. Some people like to eat garbanzo beans in hummus, which is a paste made from combining the beans with tahini, olive oil, fresh herbs, and garlic. It can be used as a dip, spread, or side dish. The leaves of the plant are often used as an ingredient in Indian dishes.
Garbanzo beans are a highly nutritious food for both humans and animals. People plant chickpeas in mass to prevent disease cycles caused by wheat or barley crops. They are considered to be one of the many green manure growers planted in advance of other crops to enrich the soil. Some people in the 18th century used dandelions as a coffee substitute. Also, during World War I, dandelions were grown again for the same reason in Germany. This statement is true for almost every culture in the world. Garbanzo beans are used in many different ways by many different cultures.
Planting Garbanzo Beans
You should plant chickpea seeds early, at least two to three weeks before the last spring frost. This will give them enough time to germinate and grow. Chickpeas are highly prone to transplant shock, so avoid planting them in starter pots. Instead, sow chickpeas directly in the plant bed. If you’re starting your plants indoors, it’s best to use biodegradable pots that can be planted directly in the garden later on.
Give them a well-draining area rich in organic material. Full sun is a must. If your ground or climate is not suitable for growing chickpeas, try using plastic or ceramic containers that drain well and are at least 8 inches deep. If you want a good yield, you need to have multiple containers. One container is not enough. Plant chickpeas 1.5 to 2 inches deep and space them 3 to 6 inches apart in rows 18 to 24 inches apart. Thin the strongest plants within rows to 6 inches. Once they are established, give them a thin layer of mulch to help keep moisture in.
After your chickpea seedlings have sprouted, you will have a chickpea harvest soon. What are the basic things you need to know about taking care of garbanzo beans?
Sun and Temperature
The amount of direct sunlight that garbanzo beans need per day is at least 6 to 8 hours. The USDA has determined that chickpeas can be grown in spring in any zone from 2 through 10b. A fall planting is possible in warmer climates, though at this time pestilence is more of an issue. In the chickpea plant’s natural environment, daytime temperatures typically fall between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The plant is not at a disadvantage if the nighttime temperatures dip to 64.
Garbanzo beans need at least cool weather to produce. They are slightly frost-tolerant as well. If the temperature during the flowering phase of chickpea growth is too low, the flowers will fall off. The ability of garbanzo beans to uptake water and nutrients is reduced in the vegetative stage when it’s cold, which may lead to stunted growth. Excessive heat above 85 degrees does the same. You should water your plants more frequently during hot seasons, and provide shade for them during heatwaves. In a snap freeze, a frost cloth might help. If your plant is in a container, bring it inside.
Water and Humidity
Water your plants in the morning to keep the soil evenly moist. Chickpeas need at least 1 inch of water per week. The best way to water plants is to use drip irrigation or soaker hoses to water them at the base. This will allow the water to directly feed the plant’s root system. Avoid overhead watering. Water the plant more during the seed production phase. This ensures a good yield. If you are growing chickpeas and it rains a lot in the cooler seasons, don’t overwater them. instead of irrigation immediately, let the soil dry a bit first. Chickpea plants require a lot of water and produce less when there is a lack of moisture in the soil.
The soil should be rich in order to fill the planting bed or container. This means that the soil should not be overly saturated with water. If the soil does not have agricultural sand or another amendment to help with drainage, its structure can still accommodate those needs. The plants will absorb nutrients more effectively if the ground is sloped. While chickpeas can technically be grown in land with poor soil conditions, they will thrive much more when there is a thin later of aged compost present. To grow chickpeas effectively, the pH level should be between 4 and 6.
Avoid planting chickpeas with nitrogen-rich fertilizers. If these plants are adding nitrogen to the soil, adding more nitrogen will cause the plants to focus more on producing leaves instead of healthy chickpeas. It is not recommended to grow this plant with other legumes. Provide a powder fertilizer of 5-10-10 NPK upon planting. If you use 1 cup of fertilizer per 50 feet of row, you will get an excellent yield.
You might want to train your plant to grow on a trellis, which would support the dried beans that the plant produces during reproduction. Support the plant as it grows, using a stake, trellis, or cage. Gradually move the plant onto the support. If you want to, you can cut the tips off the plant before it flowers to make more dry chickpeas.
Chickpeas propagate best by seed. Use the planting section above to guide you. Make sure you use biodegradable seedling pots if you’re starting your plants indoors. The taproot on these plants is sensitive and shallow so it doesn’t do well when it’s disturbed.
What is hummus?
Hummus (alternately spelled “humus”, “houmous” and “hommus”) is the Arabic word for “chickpeas”. It is a vegan dip or spread that is made mostly of cooked chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon, and salt. Some versions also include cumin.
Hummus has been a staple food in many Middle Eastern countries for centuries, with there being countless regional and family variations. People argue about who first made hummus, and which countries can say that hummus belongs to them.
Hummus is typically made from scratch and served fresh on the same day in restaurants across the Middle East. Dumplings are not only served as an appetizer or snack in the West, as is commonly the case. This food can be eaten at any meal as part of the main dish or as a side dish.
Ingredients for making the best hummus
Hummus only requires a few simple ingredients, so you should make it at home!
Chickpeas, aka garbanzo beans. Obviously, hummus quite literally means chickpeas in Arabic. Canned or dried chickpeas? Keep on reading in the next section.
Tahini. The second main ingredient is tahini, a paste made from sesame seeds. There is a big difference in the quality of commercial tahini brands. To make good hummus, you need to use a lot of tahini, so it is important to use a good quality tahini.
The traditional hummus recipe does not use olive oil in the actual hummus. The olive oil is poured on top of the hummus before serving. To make hummus, you will need to use a lot of tahini.
Lemon. Lemon juice is crucial for making hummus, but the amount used in recipes can vary a lot. I personally like my lemonade to be very lemony, so I use more lemon than many recipes. The quality of the ingredients you use is especially important when a recipe has so few of them. You need fresh lemon juice to avoid the negative health effects of plastic bottles.
Garlic. Some people (hi, me!) like their hummus very garlicky. If you don’t love garlic that is very sharp, you can either use less of it or marinate it in lemon juice for a short time. In his cookbook Zahav, Solomonov includes a hummus recipe that does the following: To make this recipe, add the garlic and lemon juice to a food processor or blender. Blend for a few seconds on high until the ingredients are coarsely pureed. Take a break for 10 minutes to let the garlic taste soften.
You can also use toum, a Lebanese garlic sauce, which is not as strong as raw garlic.
Salt. Obviously, we need some flavor! I use Diamond Crystal kosher salt in my cooking, which contains less sodium per weight than sea salt. Use about half the amount of sea salt than you would normally use and add more to taste. I don’t recommend using table salt as it can make food taste metallic.
Ice water. Water is necessary to further bring the hummus together. I use ice water to make the texture creamier and fluffier.
How to cook dried chickpeas
First, soak the chickpeas. This makes the chickpeas softer and cooks them faster; it also helps with digestion.
To soak chickpeas, add them to a large bowl and cover them with enough cold water. Let the bowl sit for 8-12 hours, covered. This raises the water’s pH level and causes the chickpeas to soften more quickly I also soak the chickpeas in baking soda (½ teaspoon for 8 ounces/227g of chickpeas). This raises the water’s pH level and causes the chickpeas to soften more quickly.
Adding baking soda to both your soaking water and cooking water will help to soften your chickpeas the most and do so quickly; they should be really soft in just 45 minutes. The baking soda also helps to remove the chickpea skins, so you don’t have to peel them one by one. And soft chickpeas without skins = creamy, smooth hummus.
Once soaked, drain and rinse the chickpeas.
If you want to soak your chickpeas but forgot to do it overnight, you can try soaking them in boiling water for two hours.
- Add the chickpeas to a saucepan and cover with several inches of water. Add the baking soda (½ teaspoon for 8 ounces of chickpeas).
- Bring to a boil and boil for 2 to 3 minutes, then take the saucepan off the heat. Cover and allow the beans to soak for 1 hour.
COOKING DRIED CHICKPEAS IN THE INSTANT POT
Soak the chickpeas according to the above instructions and then rinse them afterwards. Add the chickpeas to your Instant Pot with 3.5 – 4 cups of water, as well as 1/2 tsp baking soda and 1 tsp kosher salt. Set the pressure cooker to high and cook for 15 minutes. Then allow the pressure to release naturally.
COOKING DRIED CHICKPEAS ON THE STOVE
Soak 8 ounces/227g of dried chickpeas in water overnight. Add the chickpeas and ½ teaspoon of baking soda to a medium saucepan the next day. If doubling the recipe, use a larger saucepan.
Cover the chickpeas with 6 cups (1.45L) of water.
Bring the chickpeas to a boil. The water will start to boil and a thick white foam will appear on the surface. If there is a thin layer of something on the surface, use a spoon to remove as much as possible. It’s okay if there are small traces remaining.
Once boiling, reduce the heat and cover the pot. Adjust the heat to boiling for 30 minutes. Then, add 1 teaspoon of kosher salt. Cook for an additional 12 to 15 minutes or until the chickpeas are extremely soft and begin to fall apart when pressed with the back of a spoon or fork.
The chickpeas should be softer than if you were to eat them whole in a salad or wrap. You should be able to smush the chickpeas easily.
After you have drained the chickpeas, remove any loose skins that may be floating around.
How to make the best homemade hummus
- Add your warm-cooked chickpeas to a food processor.
- Blend the chickpeas for 1 to 2 minutes until pureed, scraping down the sides as you go.
- Add the tahini, cumin, and garlic (start off with 1 clove if you’re not a huge garlic person).
- Add the lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste.
- Blend until the mixture starts to come together, then start streaming in the ice water, a tablespoon at a time until you have your desired texture. Taste for seasonings, adding more salt, garlic, cumin, or lemon juice as desired.
- Transfer the amount of hummus you plan to eat/serve to a shallow bowl or plate. Use the back of a spoon to make waves or to make a well in the center. This will enable you to pour the olive oil into the crevices/ridges.
- Drizzle the garlic-lemon oil (from the topping) into the ridges or into the well. If you didn’t make the fried garlic-lemon topping, drizzle good-quality extra virgin olive oil.
- Top the hummus with the fried garlic and lemon peel.
- If desired, top with chopped parsley and either paprika, sumac (tart, sour), or Aleppo pepper flakes (mildly spicy; shown here).