Tuesday, 4 September 2012

How to cook and store dried chickpeas

As part of my kitchen organisation and decluttering (and also because I am reading the interesting ideas over at The Year of Less - although this is not a new idea to me), I'm trying to use up various items that have been sat in my cupboards for a while. This takes commitment and often time. Time being the sticking point for me at the moment.

During my meal planning in August I frequently resulted to tinned produce simply because I just did not feel I had the time to cook dried produce. However, given the price of a tin of chickpeas at around 70p, cooking your own makes meals far cheaper and more sustainable as you are not paying the carbon cost of hauling the additional weight around the globe (weight == carbon needed to transport it).

So to use up some of my dried chickpeas and to encourage me to cook with chickpeas more often without resorting to a tin I thought I would cook a large quantity then bag and freeze them in batches. Seems so easy I wonder why I have never done it before.

Bag up your chickpeas in tin-sized portions and place in the freezer ready for use.

To cook chickpeas really could not be any easier. Firstly, put a large quantity into a pressure cooker, slow cooker (crockpot to anyone reading this outside the UK) or basic pan. Add water to double the depth of the chickpeas and cook away. In the pressure cooker it took about 2 hours on a fairly low heat to get lovely tender chickpeas (these were old though, and that increases the time to cook them). If you use a slow cooker (crockpot) except to leave them on a low setting for about 6 hours.

Cooked chickpeas in the pressure cooker.

Once cooked, drained and cooled you can then bag up the chickpeas into freezer bags. I placed 200g of cooked weight per bag which I think is similar to the quantity you would get in a tin (once drained). These can then be kept in the freezer until you need some pre-cooked chickpeas!

The cost saving is quite dramatic. A 1kg bag of chickpeas in Sainsburys costs £1.98 (never mind that I can get it at about half this price in my local Indian supermarket). 50g dried provides 200g cooked, costing 9.9p for the tin-equivalent quantity (and about half that if you manage to get your chickpeas cheaper). Of course you need to factor in your electricity/gas costs for cooking, but I doubt that would come anywhere near the 69p for a tin of chickpeas.

The same process should work for other pulses. Given the number of dried beans I have in and a desire to eat more of them and keep the cost of cooking down I will be doing more of this over the coming weeks.

Thanks for stopping by,
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