Tips for Families: Cooking with Dried Chickpeas to avoid BPA!
As an adult, I admit, I’m not always a healthy eater. I know what I should be eating and what I should be avoiding but there are times when certain food items or certain smells will call my name. Rather than deprive myself, I eat in moderation. I’m sure I read a recent study that told me that it is better to eat in moderation than to deprive your body completely because when you do, you’re more likely to overindulge on the banned ‘bad food’.
As a parent though, I’m more conscious of the food choices I make. No, I don’t deprive her either because I think it’s best she feel like foods can be eaten in moderation because over time, it’ll teach her how to self-regulate her own eating patterns. The only times I absolutely won’t buy a certain product is if I know for sure it contains the infamous and nasty chemical BPA (ie. bisphenol A). A quick google or bing of this chemical will inform you of all the lovely things it can do to the bodies of young children so I’m not going to dwell on the prolonged effects of BPA. I certainly can’t claim that all canned foods have a BPA lining but as a parent, I’d rather err on the safe side. Besides, I’m not a scientist so chances are, I’d say something wrong. However, I can tell you one way to avoid consumption of BPA laced products – avoiding certain canned products that have the inner white coating. That white coating is often where BPA is found.
Why dried chickpeas (or dried garbanzo beans) for this blog topic? Well, after I gave up using all those canned goods, one thing I chose to use occasionally was canned chickpeas because for some reason, my brain thought it would be too hard to get fresh chickpeas. After all, I’m a good cook, but I’m no magician. Recently however, I’ve taken the plunge and have started to cook with dried chickpeas and discovered it’s not THAT hard!
Dried chickpeas are easy to cook once you revive them by soaking them in water. That’s it! How easy is that! The tricky part is remembering that you need them the day before so you can soak them overnight. They also take a little longer in the pot to cook but if it avoids the extra chemicals that are normally in their canned cousin, I can deal with the extra cooking time.
My Kid’s review about dried chickpeas:
“I like dried chickpeas because they taste better than organic and my mother used to get them in a can. Now she gets them in a bag.”
(note: I tried dried organic chickpeas once but she said she didn’t like the flavour because they tasted like chocolate. I didn’t notice a difference between the organic and regular dried chickpeas but that’s what she said!)
Q: Do you remember why I get them in a bag now and not in a can?
A: “Because it’s bad for you because there’s a chemical on the side (of the can) and it’s called BPA.”
Q: Do you like the way the dried chickpeas taste when they’re cooked?
Q: What do they taste like?
Q: What’s your favourite recipe that mommy cooks with the dried chickpeas?
Q: Would you eat dried chickpeas again?
Here is my mommy method for soaking dried chickpeas. I call it ‘my mommy method’ because there are no specific measurements, just guesstimates.
How to Soak Chickpeas – my mommy method:
Get a smaller portion of dried chickpeas than what you’ll need (these dried chickpeas expand in size after soaking)
Place the dried chickpeas in a bigger glass container
Add a lot of water to the glass container, 4 times more than the amount of chickpeas
Cover the glass container and stick it in the fridge until tomorrow’s meal.
Note: now for this photo above, I soaked them right before I left for for work and by the time I came home, they were ready for dinner so dried chickpeas don’t really need to soak a full 24 hours. You may just need to cook them a little while longer on the stove top and they’ll be just as yummy and a gazillion times better than chickpeas from a can.
Throughout the soaking experience, you’ll be able to observe the chickpeas getting bigger. It’s also a really great way to introduce some science concepts to your child. Ask him/her (or them) to make observations of the dried chickpeas. What do they look like? How do they feel? Later on, fish out some chickpeas that have been soaking and ask them the same questions. Do they notice any changes? When it’s time to cook the chickpeas, it’s best to put them in a little earlier than your normal canned chickpeas to give them time to cook through. It may take about 20 – 30 minutes depending on how you’re cooking them. Now, be sure to ask your child the same questions at dinner. How do the chickpeas feel/look now?
Honestly, cooking dried chickpeas is as simple as opening a can of chickpeas. Dried chickpeas also happen to taste better than canned chickpeas because they don’t have that ‘I’ve been sitting in this can and soaking in liquid for ages’ taste. Like all beans, they have a mild flavour and mush texture to them but they can be al dente too if you choose to cook the chickpeas for a shorter period of time. Yes, it does require some organization, but the advantages certainly outweigh the prep time needed. Over time, not only will you have reduced your household consumption of BPA, you’ll reduce how much you spend on groceries since a bag of dried chickpeas lasts for many many meals. And, on top of it, you’ve now got a budding scientist on your hands! Too cool!!
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