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Why won't my dried chickpeas soften?

I put dried chickpeas in a metal bowl to soak while I was a work to make hummus when I got home. Twelve hours later, I come home and they're still hard. What's the deal? I followed the directions on the bag. Now I'm trying the quick method from the package: boiling for a couple minutes and then soaking for an hour

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Sarah is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 1 year ago
Voted the Best Answer!

Dried chickpeas won't feel soft after a good soak - you still need to cook them before making hummus or using them for another purpose. Soaking just allows for a more gentle and quicker cook. Put the soaked chickpeas in a lot of water with bay leaf (and a chunk of onion, if desired), bring just to the boil, skim the scum and simmer until tender. Should take about 30 minutes.


pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added over 1 year ago

I agree with Sarah Reinertsen on the techique here. I usually soak overnight and then cook for more like an hour at a simmer. I drain them through a clean towel and remove as much of the peels as possible. If the chickpeas are old this could be slowing the softening process.

a Whole Foods Market Customer added over 1 year ago

By the way, the old saw about not salting beans when soaking "because it makes them hard" is incorrect. _Cook's Illustrated_ has tested this. Salting the soaking water not only flavors the beans all the way through, it actually makes them soften FASTER - the sodium in the salt displaces calcium and magnesium in the seed coat, softening the pectin and allowing them to soften more quickly. Conversely, adding acid to beans before they are cooked will make them hard, so if you're making a bean dish with tomatoes, don't add them until the beans are al dente.

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