New & NowChickpea

Are Fresh Chickpeas Overrated?

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I thought I would fall in love with fresh chickpeas—but I was wrong.

The produce that we only ever see at the farmers market—the weird stuff that makes us slow down, trip on that person Instagramming tomatoes, and take a second look—exudes a magical aura. It's a well-known phenomenon that microscopic fairies flutter near the fiddleheads, chanting in your ears: "They must be good! They're almost gone! You must buy them, eat them, and rave about them—immediately!" 

Earlier this spring, restaurateur Danny Meyer and food writer Francis Lam saw beyond the fog of fiddleheads:


Today, I am making the bold statement that fresh chickpeas, too, may yield more pain than pleasure. At first, I was smitten with these fuzzy fresh chickpeas. The novelty! The intrigue! The Alfalfa hairdos

I was excited to put them into a salad—until I started shelling. For the one pint we bought, Ali and I spent about an hour (this might be a little pathetic, but it was our first time) puncturing the tough pods to remove the tiny green peas inside. Ali, who is no stranger to fava bean shelling, claims she may have developed carpal tunnel in the process.

In the end, we were left with a scant handful of green pebbles. We blanched them in a shallow pot of water, then threw them into a salad. They tasted like regular chickpeas—only blander. I think I'll stick to dried chickpeas from now on. 

Were we doing something wrong? Share your tips for preparing fresh chickpeas in the comments below!

Tags: Vegetable, Vegetarian, Food52 Life, Farmers Markets, Ingredients