Have been soaking chick peas in water in the fridge for 3-4 days - sort of forgot they were in there - still good to use for a stew? Any thoughts?
Sure they're still good to use. Probably cooking time will be a bit less than you're used to. Tip: humus. Puree them with garlic, lemonjuice and a good olive oil. Add some tahin (sesame paste) and you're good. Serve with sourdough bread.
If they are releasing gas it is possible they are fermenting, and there is no way to save fermented beans. Fermented beans can also cause serious digestive issues. If they smell sour, throw them out. If they have started to sprout, throw them out.
Personally I would throw them out anyway - 3-4 days without changing the water is too long and not worth any risks.
Fermentation starts as soon as you plunge them in water. 3-4 days is way to long. My advice is dump them.
I would rinse them very well and then smell them. Sometimes soaking them so long can cause fermentation, I don't think that means they are spoiled, but they surely won't taste the "normal" way if they are fermented -- in which case you might prefer to tos them and start over.
Assuming the chickpeas pass the OK-ness tests above, they will still need cooking!
Chickpeas can be sprouted, in the usual sequence of soak, rinse and drain, rinse and drain, etc., until they have a rather short tail. A bit of an acquired taste.
Even after you rinse all the bubbliness in the chickpeas, they have a rather disagreeable odor & a corresponding taste after 3 days.. Not worth wasting ingredients on.. Toss it!
I agree with Chef June, that fermentation itself doesn't mean spoiled. The Japanese are very fond of fermentation, even in beans, such as natto. (Come on people, you like cheese, don't you?)
But if they are bubbly, I would toss. If you feel comfortable with them, wash well and use.
You can eat sprouted chickpeas no problem! Just rinse them and use as you usually would. It is actually a MUCH healthier way of eating chickpeas. http://www.culturesforhealth.com/how-to-sprout-garbanzo-beans-chickpeas