In Season: Fresh Garbanzos

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Tamar Genger MA, RD
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fresh garbanzo beans

Last week I was so excited to finally get my hands on some of these fresh garbanzo beans.  In case you don't know, garbanzo beans is another name for chick peas.  Typically you buy them dried or canned and use them in salads, to make hummus, falafel or in soups and stews.  Fresh garbanzos can be used in similar ways, but are completely different.

Both fresh and dried or canned chickpeas offer many nutritional benefits.  Like all beans they are high in fiber, protein an antioxidants.  About 1/2 cup of fresh garbanzos will contribute 120 calories, 2 grams of fat, 4 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein.   It is also considered a good source of vitamins A, C and E, potassium, iron, manganese,  copper, zinc, calcium, and folate. They can be superior to the canned variety because they are fresh and do not have any added salt.

Before chickpeas ripen and turn yellow, they are found in soft fuzzy green pods and they are incredibly tasty and versatile.   They have been becoming more and more available and popular in the US over the past few years and I can't wait to get more of them.  They remind me most of fresh English peas, that I love to take on picnics and eat right out of the pod.  The flavor is slightly earthier, but they can be eaten in similar ways.  Raw is fun for kids and adults, just pop em out of the pod and into your mouth.  Or keep your kids busy shelling and use a lightly boil a big batch before making a fresh garbanzo hummus, or adding to some guacamole.  You can also roast them as I have done for a few minutes in the oven or saute them with a drop of olive oil.  Sprinkle spices or just some lemon and salt for a snack, appetizer or side dish.  You can also char the chickpeas in their pods in a cast iron skillet and sprinkle with salt, they can be eaten similar to edamame where you pop the bean right into your mouth.

Here is my first recipe using Fresh Garbanzos, many more to come I hope.

spiced fresh garbanzos