Saturday, August 15, 2009

Chickpeas: Grow Your Own Protein

As a household of four vegetarians, we go through plenty of chickpeas (or garbanzos), using them in pilaus, stirfries, and Italian sauces, as well as to make hummus. The canned item is fine, but I've wondered if a garden-grown chickpea would taste superior, fresh or dried. With that in mind, I ordered a packet of an East Indian variety, red channa, from a Seed Savers Exchange member and allowed them a few square feet of the garden. The feathery leaves are pretty, and so are the pale purple flowers. The cute little pods each hold two rather small peas, some already dried and others still bright green. Less impressive is the yield-- my dozen plants yielded about a handful of shelled garbanzos, much of the crop having already been harvested and shelled by some sort of animal. If this sample seems special, we'll alot a long row to chickpeas next summer. And if there's a bumper crop, I may try to make the yellow tofu-like chickpea squares that are served fried in Burma as an important source of protein.

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