Pre-Peeled Chickpeas. A homemade hummus game-changer.

The first time I went to the Symposium for Professional Food Writers at the Greenbrier, I walked into the grand dining room (think of the biggest chandelier you’ve ever seen, in green and black crystal) on the first night for dinner. The hostess took us, each one as we arrived, to the round tables of writers and an empty chair next to someone. Before I even took my seat I was saying hello to Sofia, an adorable, bright, funny and fun writer from New York.

Next thing you know, a lot of years (nine) have passed and thanks to all things Internet—we’ve still got it.

It was Sofia who ever so casually posted on Facebook about the peeled chickpeas she’s been using to make her hummus. I fell out of my chair directly to my knees, said a prayer of thanksgiving for Sofia and her brilliant mind, and started on the hunt.

Why? Perhaps you are like the gal at Fantis Foods who is the gatekeeper for distribution of the product. I called to find out more, as in: why can’t I find this product online anywhere, and how can I because I have readers who are gonna want it. Bad. Her response was one of mildly amused disbelief. She said in her East Coast-y accent: Who cares about peeled chickpeas?

WHO CARES?! Clearly she has never tasted the stop-dead-in-your-tracks difference that is hummus made with peeled chickpeas.

What? You haven’t either? Your hummus game has just changed, and I mean big, my friends.

The best hummus you can eat is, according to me and many others, ultra-smooth. For a long time I thought it must be the machinery the big companies like Sabra use to get their hummus so perfectly smooth. I made a decent attempt at adding laban, yogurt, to my hummus to give it better texture. Then it became clear this was about the skins, which never puree fully and make the hummus coarser. Which some like, and to you I say: we better head to therapy together, because I don’t understand you.

The skins also impart a flavor, a hint of undesirable bitterness, that is far, far inferior to the flavor of hummus made without skins.

The quest to figure out how to best loosen the skins from chickpeas is monumental. There’s this thread, this post (can’t wait to tell Deb!) and tons more like it. Because who wants to spend all that time standing at the sink popping the skins off of a ridiculously small amount of chickpeas? And who, really, is going to do it? Nobody but some poor lost souls like me.

To the point now, I promise. The Greeks (of course! Smarty pants) have a product that we can get imported here that is the holiest of Holy Grail, dried peeled chickpeas. I keep thinking I’ll abandon everything to figure out the biz plan of processing and selling peeled chickpeas right here in the U.S. The market, you know it, is wide and deep.

Here’s my gift to you today:

Buy them here.

Your gift to me and the rest of us is if you’ll let us know if you find the peeled chickpeas anyplace else where they can be ordered…in large quantities! You may be able to find them at a local Mediterranean or Greek import market. That’s not happening Up North in Michigan (we have other treasures), but probably downstate somewhere and probably where you live. Because I just know you live somewhere cool.

The peeled garbanzos cook up in lots of water, big pot, in about 90 minutes. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a healthy simmer (uncovered). Careful not to take them too far, because without the skins they don’t have anything holding them together, and you don’t want them to fall apart. Keep checking and tasting as you go. Soft, creamy to the bite, with just a whisper of resistance, and they are done. Strain and reserve the cooking liquid for your hummus. Now you’re ready to make your homemade hummus into the finest delight of your table. I can’t wait! I’m so happy for all of us!

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18 Responses to Pre-Peeled Chickpeas. A homemade hummus game-changer.

  1. Jim Albert says:

    Maureen,

    What a great find. I had a friend of my wife (Irish–Red/Strawberry blond–the real deal!) ask me about peeled chick peas and I was perplexed. I was proudly proclaiming the “real” way to make hummus, going through all the important ingredients and fundamentals (including banging the cheap blender with my palms, but no more thanks to vitamix or the “bullet” thingies). She was very patient with me and humbly asked me one simple question. “Do you peel the chick peas?” This was about 5 years ago, the question just dangled (haunted me) in my head for the entire 5 years.

    No way!! who’s peeling every chick pea (I was feeling very lazy) I am a visual person so your imagery Maureen was perfect. The only thing I could think was that it was what they had to do with the old mortar and pestle. This intrigued me b/c it could have been the “traditional way”, but I never tried it (but always wondered).

    Now we have this wonderful alternative. Thanks Maureen for offering this.

  2. Sofia Perez says:

    I remember being so nervous that first night of the conference–just starting out the business, wondering if I’d click with anyone. Your smile and warmth put me instantly at ease. A friend for life, I knew, in seconds.

  3. Sofia Perez says:

    And believe it or not, Maureen, but it’s been 10 years. It was March 2003 (so 10 1/2 years). Oy.

  4. Geri Conklin says:

    OMG!!!!!! The memories of sitting at the counter as a kid and peeling (or popping) those pesky little chickpeas from their skins………..sheeeezz, but, ta da…….the best hummus ever unfolded before our eyes. My mother also used to mash the peas with a wooden mallet. I often think about how much more work it took her than today and so quickly it would be gone. It seemed there was never enough, ha, ha.

  5. Claire Tromeur says:

    Hello Maureen,

    About chick peas, I soak them for 12 hours and freeze them; easy to peal after that even uncooked!

    I never found peeled ones here – Switzerland – didn’t even know it existed …..

    Love them anyway !

    Love your letters too

  6. Rebecca Hachem says:

    I spent 2 hours peeling my chick peas and thought it was worth it, but I only did it once!
    Thank you for the generous gift.

  7. What an extraordinary outcome of your attendance at the Symposium for Professional Food Writers at The Greenbrier, Maureen! I love the lasting friendship with Sophia, the peeled chickpeas and, of course, your writing! I’ll check Italian food shops re the peeled garbanzos. We include them in many dishes.

    • Michael Ganz says:

      Believe it or not, I had a meeting today with a couple of Turkish businessmen. They took me to
      a Mediterranean restaurant and I am sure the hummus was made without “skins”… I noticed the difference right away. Very creamy and smooth — I wondered… how did they do this?

      By coincidence, I came home to find this article in my email of all topics.

      You’re looking great Maureen! Beautiful! Love your new photo.

      Hope you are well…

      Michael

  8. Sharon says:

    OMG. When I learned to make hummus oh so many years ago from my Sitto and Umtee (Aunt) they first boiled the chick peas then proceeded to pop the skins off. Years later when I continued to follow their example most of my friends thought it was a waste of time and convinced me it didn’t make a difference. I can’t tell you how excited I was to read this article. Hurray! I am going to make it today and take the skins off. I want my friends to taste the difference.

    Thank you for this article
    Sharon

  9. Roger Toomey says:

    Have you tried cooking them in a pressure cooker? That’s what my Mom did. I don’t really know why or what the advantage was but that’s the way it was done/

  10. mimi says:

    Great tip! I live in Royal Oak, so I have plenty of choices for restaurants with deliciously smooth hummus, but it’s great to know this for when I decide to make my own. I had wondered how the restaurants managed to get their hummus so smooth, and I think this must be it.

  11. John says:

    The chickpeas in the bag look fresh….well, not dried anyway. Are they dried?

    • Maureen Abood says:

      Hi John–yes, they are dried, pre-peeled chickpeas–but they are par-cooked, so they aren’t treated as regular dried beans. They’re just cooked for about 90 minutes or so.

  12. Angela says:

    Hi, i actually just tried to purchase these but afraid the link doesn’t work. Has the site shut down? I am dying to buy some so any assistance from you would be fabulous.

    Thanks

 

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