Garbanzo beans, also known as chickpeas, have become increasingly popular in America. You’re probably most familiar with them as the base of the yummy dip hummus.
Garbanzo beans are a small yellowish round bean that is very popular in Middle Eastern and some European cooking. They can be creamy, nutty, and even meaty in a variety of recipes.
Garbanzo beans are a legume, just like the other beans you might be familiar with. Because of this they naturally contain certain anti-nutrients that protect them. One of these is phytic acid and another is enzyme inhibitors. Both of these can make legumes hard to digest and problematic if legumes are a huge part of the diet.
One solution to that problem is sprouting. When sprouted garbanzo beans not only have those negative properties neutralized, they also have their positive attributes - namely vitamin and protein content - enhanced.
Garbanzo beans are one of the easiest beans to sprout, so you can do it simply in your own kitchen.
The Garbanzo Bean Sprouting Process
First you need to decide how far you want to take the sprouting process. For all cooking purposes I recommend using a shorter-sprouted garbanzo bean. For raw eating in salads or sandwiches you can do a longer sprout.
The longer sprout will take up a lot more room and so you will need a larger vessel for sprouting. I recommend either a large colander or a gallon jar for two cups of long-sprouted garbanzo beans. For the short-sprouted garbanzo beans you can use a quart or half-gallon jar.
Your first step is to rinse and soak the garbanzo beans overnight. This starts the sprouting process by waking them up with rehydration.
In the morning drain and rinse the garbanzo beans thoroughly. If you are using a jar with a sprouting screen you will now invert that jar to allow any extra water to run off. If you are using a colander you will leave this over a bowl or sink and cover it with a towel in order to keep airflow going while keeping bugs out.
Later in the day you will want to rinse and drain the garbanzo beans again. Two to three times per day is optimal, always rinsing more frequently in warmer weather.
You will repeat this rinsing and draining process two to three times per day until the garbanzo beans have sprouted to the length you desire. For short-sprouted garbanzo beans (ideal for soups, stews, etc.) this should take around three days. For longer sprouted garbanzo beans this could take around five days.
Once your garbanzos are sprouted to your liking give them one last good rinse and really good drain. You will notice that the skins have come off of many of the beans. This is normal and you can either pick the skins out or leave them in as they do not affect the flavor or digestion. Then you can store them in the refrigerator for around a week or until you are ready to use them.