Chickpeas have a wide range of uses.
They can be used as a star ingredient in everything, from creamy hummus dips to crunchy snacks, to the most filling and never-soggy soups, stews, or casseroles.
These are also extremely affordable and high in nutrition value, so it’s a wise move to buy bulk.
You don’t need to have a lot of space in your pantry. But you have plenty of freezer space.
Chickpeas are freezer-friendly. Defrosting them is quick and usually won’t cause any noticeable structural damage, which allows you to add them later in a delicious dish.
This article will cover the best methods to freeze chickpeas and discuss different ways to prepare them and why they are delicious.
What Exactly are Chickpeas?
Chickpeas were a staple food in Middle Eastern cuisine for many millennia.
However, in recent years, they’ve made a name in every other part of the globe.
These beans are also known as garbanzo beans, but they’re still members of the legume family.
Chickpeas are more closely related to beans than peas.
The name chickpea is derived from the French ‘chiche’, which means thin or small, and refers to the seed’s size.
Nowadays, both of these names are used interchangeably.
There are two types of chickpeas: desi and Kabuli.
Desi is considered the original variety, while Kabuli is a more recent cultivar.
They’re both popular in their own right and have very few differences in flavor.
These are narrower at one end than the other.
The difference lies in size and, therefore, texture (Kabuli is slightly smoother than desi).
Desi chickpeas are smaller and firmer.
Kabulis, on the other hand, are larger, creamier, more tender, and sweeter.
Differences Between Canned Chickpeas and Dried Chickpeas
The main difference between these two is that the dried variety needs to be cooked before eating, while canned chickpeas are ready.
Canned beans are boiled in water and later sealed in a can.
On the other hand, dried ones need to be soaked overnight before cooking them for about 2 hours (in an open casserole or pot).
The texture of canned chickpeas is comparatively softer and mushier.
And they are not as easy to peel (save you some time and dig clean through your fingernails).
The flavor, however, is just as rich either way. With canned ones, the skin can be removed quite easily.
You just need to give them a good rinse in cold water mixed with baking soda.
Then, rub the skin away. But, the dried variety has to be soaked first.
This softens up the chickpeas and makes them easier to peel off (when done so under cold running water).
How to Cook Canned Chickpeas?
Canned chickpeas (white, canned in water) are cooked quite simply.
You just need to drain the liquid and rinse them under cold running water for a few minutes.
They’re ready to use right away. The cooking process is just the same as dried chickpeas, minus the overnight soaking time and a couple of hours of cooking.
You have two options:
1) Use them in cold recipes, such as salads, spreads, etc.
You don’t want to risk overcooking them, which will make them mushy and inedible.
In other words, you need to use canned chickpeas right away after cooking and draining them.
2) Use them in warm/hot dishes, such as soups or stews, where they won’t be cooked for too long.
Here you can use canned chickpeas that have been previously cooked (cold method) and drained or canned chickpeas that were already made hot (didn’t need to be cooked).
Just heat your canned chickpeas in a saucepan and simmer them for 2 minutes.
In both cases, make sure you use canned chickpeas that were not overcooked.
If this is the case (a much darker color than usual can indicate overcooking), you need to discard them or cook them longer until they’re edible again.
How to Freeze Uncooked Chickpeas?
Freezing chickpeas is a great way to have an instant source of protein and legumes when you don’t have time or forgot to grab some from the store.
Freezing chickpeas will act as a preservative, preventing them from rotting and allowing you to have a supply of cooked chickpeas on hand whenever you need them.
If you want to freeze uncooked chickpeas, rinse them well in cold water.
Spread them out on a baking sheet and let dry as much as possible.
You can even leave them overnight to ensure they don’t cling together after freezing.
Once your chickpeas are fully dried, lay them out on a baking sheet in irregular clumps, as this will prevent the beans from sticking to each other once they’re frozen.
Once you have laid out all your beans, place the sheet back into the freezer and leave for about 1 hour so that all of the beans are in the same frozen state.
Once all of the beans are ready, place them all into a freezer bag and seal them up.
Try not to use too much space from the bag, as you don’t want your frozen chickpeas to expand while freezing.
When you’re in the mood for chickpeas, just take them out and follow your favorite recipe.
They should stay good fresh for up to 2-3 months in the freezer.
How to Freeze Cooked Chickpeas?
Cooking your chickpeas before freezing is the best option as it will prevent moisture loss and freezer burn.
To cook them, just bring water to a boil in a large pot.
Add your washed chickpeas along with some salt and pepper to taste; you can add any other seasonings if you’d like.
Once brought to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Turn off the heat and let stand for 1 hour to soak up all the flavor before draining well in a colander.
You want to make sure they’re as dry as possible, or you could end up with soggy beans later on.
Once your cooked chickpeas are completely dry, you can start freezing them.
You want the beans to be separated into individual clumps rather than frozen altogether.
Try laying out your cooked beans on a baking sheet and freezing them.
Once frozen, place the beans into a freezer bag and seal it up.
For best results, your beans should be kept in the freezer for no more than three months.
Even though there’s very little moisture, to begin with, they can still dry out over time.
If you’re just cooking chickpeas for immediate use, you can keep them in your refrigerator for about three days.
Should You Freeze Canned Chickpeas?
Even though your homemade, fresh chickpeas are way better than their canned counterparts in terms of flavor and texture, we can’t help but love the convenience that comes with opening up a can.
But, freezing chickpeas is a great way to keep up with your favorite legume at all times and prevent them from going bad.
That being said, should you freeze a can of chickpeas?
Canned chickpeas are unstable and can explode in your freezer.
After opening your canned chickpeas, use a ziplock bag to squeeze out all the air and freeze like this.
How to Thaw Frozen Chickpeas?
The best way to thaw frozen chickpeas while maintaining their freshness and flavor is to place them in a fridge overnight.
If you don’t have room in the fridge, place them in a large bowl and fill them with cool water until they are covered completely.
Change the water every 20 mins or so to keep them from getting freezer burn.
After thawing your chickpeas, taste one for quality assurance before cooking with it, as you may find that the texture isn’t quite up to par.
If this is the case, you can always reheat them by boiling, adding some salt and pepper to taste.
This will bring back some of their lost flavor and moisture while leaving them nice and soft.
If you need to thaw your chickpeas quickly, the best option is to use your microwave.
Layout a few of them on a plate and put them in the microwave for 30 secs.
Take off after every 10 seconds and move them around so they don’t overheat.
How to Use Defrosted Chickpeas?
One of the most common questions people ask is how to use defrosted chickpeas.
The answer may seem obvious, but it’s not as simple as you think.
You definitely should not eat defrosted chickpeas straight from the freezer, or your cooking experience will be ruined for sure.
They need to go through a quick re-hydration stage to regain their full, delicious flavor.
Also, this will soften them up again and make them great for cooking with.
If your chickpeas have been frozen for more than a few months, they may not be as good after thawing as you might expect.
If that happens, just cook them using the instructions above and then change them over to the recipe of your choice.
One of the best ways to use defrosted chickpeas is salads, guacamole, hummus, and falafel.
They will blend perfectly with other ingredients and add some texture to your dish.
You can also choose to keep them as they are and add them to a stew or salad.
Another great idea is to cook chickpeas in a liquid.
If you’re making something like vegetable soup, bulgur wheat with herbs, and lentil stew, this will allow them to maintain their shape without overpowering the rest of your dish.
How to Tell if Chickpeas are Bad?
There is nothing worse than opening a can of chickpeas and tasting them only to find out they have gone bad.
This will ruin the flavor of your food no matter what you try to do, so it’s important that you can tell whether or not your beans are still good.
The best way to determine this is by looking for these three signs.
Appearance: While you can’t judge a book by its cover, we know that looks are everything in this case.
If your chickpeas look dull and flakey, it means they have been exposed to light for too long before being canned.
This will also make them taste bitter and unpleasant, so throw them out immediately.
Smell: If you open a can of chickpeas and all you smell is a strong sour odor, then throw them away immediately.
This means they are starting to decompose, which will be evident in your food.
Texture: The best way to tell if chickpeas are bad is by their texture or the lack thereof.
If your chickpeas are not soft but hard and dry, they have most likely been sitting around for too long.
They should feel creamy, just like they do when you buy them at the store.
In conclusion, chickpeas are a great source of protein, fiber, and carbohydrates.
They are well known for their high potassium, magnesium, folate, and iron levels, all of which can promote health in many ways.
If you’re looking to eat healthier, try adding chickpeas into your diet as a snack or in your favorite recipe.
Freezing chickpeas is a great way to preserve them and make sure they are always on hand when you need them.