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Great Garbanzos! Growing, harvesting, cooking and loving chickpeas.

 
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The chickpea (Cicer arietinum), also called garbanzo bean, is popular because it's easy to grow, delicious to cook, helps the soil, and is an extremely nutritious staple crop.  

This thread is for celebrating chickpeas and glorious garbanzo beans.  It's about growing, breeding, cooking, and anything else chickpea that pops up.  



Growing:


Plant them in the spring at the same time as garden peas.  Some chickpeas will overwinter in mild climates like the Pacific north-west and north Africa, which makes for a much higher yield. Coming from a Mediterranean clime, Chickpeas are on of the few pulses that grow well where I am.  They adore wet winters and dry summers.

They are also excelent nitrogen fixers.  

Chickpeas come in many different colours from beige, to brown, to red, to black, to almost white.  


Black Kabuli chickpeas

Plant 18" apart in rows 1 foot apart.  Mulch when the weather starts to warm to keep the soil moist and the weeds down.  


Cooking:

This old world pulse is one of the few pulses with mostly soluble fibre.  Basically, what this means is that people on a low fibre diet (like those with Crohn's disease) can enjoy chickpeas.  

Chickpeas can be cooked like other pulses, eaten young and fresh from the plant, ground into flour, mashed into hummus and some can even be popped like popcorn.  Carol Deppe talks about popbeans in her book The Resilient Gardener.  Chickpeas also make fantastic miso paste.  It's easy to make chickpea miso at home - possibly the easiest miso to make.  

The leaves of the chickpea plant can be 'milked' for an acid which is supposed to make an amazing condiment.  I haven't tried this yet, but apparently, one goes out to the chickpeas in the early morning and uses a cloth to wipe off the dew.  The cloth is then wrung out and the liquid collected.  


Seed:

One can harvest chickpea seed from their grocery shop.  It's good to do a germination test on them first, but I find they usually have 90% or higher.

For specialty, organic chickpea seed, here's a list of a few places that I've seen them for sale.

Salt Spring Island Seeds
golden garbanzos at baker creak seeds
Carol Deppe seeds

A pretty small list, eh?  That's because not many places sell them yet.  But It's catching on.


With so much variety and so much goodness, no wonder chickpeas are the main staple crop of so many cultures.  
Let's chat about chickpeas.  Growing them, enjoying them, any questions, troubles, triumphs or curiosities.  
 
steward
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I'm hoping to grow some this year. I would love to grow Carol Deppe's Hannan Popbean. It sounds like a wonderful snack food. We're trying to eat healthier , but the man doesn't like beans or chickpeas, and he's a 'snacker' so I'm thinking this will be an excellent way to get some healthy snacks happening. I've been excited about them ever since I read about them in her book, The Resilient Gardener!
 
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I am currently growing brown and white chickpeas. They don't like my soil for the time being (I get less than what I sowed).
I hope I will soon be able to source Black Kabuli and the Popbean.
 
steward
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I planted garbanzo beans day before yesterday, March 13th. That's a few days after the winter snowcover melted. I also planted a row last fall, and included them in the fall cover-crop. They didn't survive the winter as small plants, though I often have volunteers that show up about this time in the spring. Sometimes I move the volunteers into a row.

My favorite way to eat chickpeas is fresh from the vine. They typically only have one or two peas per pod, so that makes them all the more delectable.

One of my favorite varieties are what I think of as "Red-leaved".


CIMG0623.JPG
Lofthouse Landrace Garbanzo Beans
Lofthouse Landrace Garbanzo Beans
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Chickpea Plants
Chickpea Plants
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A typical garbanzo bean seedling.
 
pollinator
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I have never tried growing garbanzos. Never even crossed my mind till just now.  This growing season I am experimenting with lentils.  Maybe next season I will try chick peas.  I love to throw them into my salads.
 
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I'm planning to grow the golden garbanzo beans from Baker Creek this year.

I've also tossed them with cumin, paprika, salt and pepper and roasted them in the oven. They're delicious!
 
steward
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I bought some chickpea flour from Azure Standard, after a friend served me delicious gluten free pancakes with this plus some other flours.

I've had fun using it as a coating for eggplant chunks cooked in sesame oil - I cook the eggplant until it starts releasing the sesame oil again, and then sprinkle with chickpea flour and sesame seeds.  Then I serve it with soy sauce.  So good.
 
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Boil until tender, drain, toss with olive oil and Cajun seasoning, spread on baking sheet, bake at 400° for about 30 minutes shaking the pan often to mix. Makes a great crunchy snack, one that will keep you awake on long road trips.
 
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I've been thinking about planting these for a couple of years but haven't taken the plunge. Does anyone know when to plant in the PNW when you're hoping they'll over-winter and provide a spring harvest?
 
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I love chickpeas.  I tried growing them two years ago.  They did not prosper and I was disappointed with the few, small peas I got.  Lovely plant and flowers, though.  My current pulses are Michel's cowpeas, fava beans and mother Stallard beans, all of which grow really well and don't need much tending.  I love Michel's because the thick, wide leaves mean I don't have to weed that row much.  Fava beans grow well but every year I have to battle the aphids and I usually lose that battle.  Stallard beans are great with three sisters planting.
 
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Should you trellis the plant up? It looks like it grows like a bush?
 
pollinator
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Patricia Boley wrote:I love chickpeas.  I tried growing them two years ago.  They did not prosper and I was disappointed with the few, small peas I got.  Lovely plant and flowers, though.  My current pulses are Michel's cowpeas, fava beans and mother Stallard beans, all of which grow really well and don't need much tending.  I love Michel's because the thick, wide leaves mean I don't have to weed that row much.  Fava beans grow well but every year I have to battle the aphids and I usually lose that battle.  Stallard beans are great with three sisters planting.



With the fava beans pinch the tops out before the aphids appear but after the flowers have started to open, it really helps keep aphids off them, it also gives a delicious meal of bean tops.
 
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Never grew them, but the wife use them in Hummus.
 
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Nice! Last year, some chickpeas grew in my greywater canal. I guess they must have washed down the sink and then grown out there. I was surprised, as they are not grown locally though they are commonly eaten locally, so I think they are not considered possible to grow here. But they are. I've seen in a book that they can be low production for the space taken, so that might be an issue for some people.

Another way to eat them not mentioned above is as sprouts, barely sprouted. Chickpea sprouts are very common in India, mixed into crunchy snacks, and since they are so common, I believe that means they don't have the bean toxins that are problem in some uncooked pulses. When I soak some chickpeas overnight for cooking, I find that they are yummy, sweet and salady right away, or I might rinse them and leave them another day till the end barely starts to grow. Or soak overnight and then keep in the fridge right away, rinse once a day, and use immediately or within 3 or 4 days.

I put chickpea sprouts in chunky salsa, in salads, or as Indian chaat snack. Chaat can be all kinds of various mixed crunchy snacky things, but my favorite is any kind of fried crunchy crispy things as the base, mixed with diced onions, tomato and cilantro, barely sprouted chickpeas, lemon juice, powdered chilli, and tangy-salty chaat masala.
 
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I got Black Sicilian and Pico Pardal varieties from Adaptive Seeds. I started them in March. They are about a foot tall now and have been pretty carefree. I’m in the PNW on gravel soil so I figured they would feel at home here.

I’ll let you know how they fare in the end.
 
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