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The season for fresh chick peas has begun!

They are not local for me, nor for any part of Canada. In fact, I don't think there is any commercial production of chick peas in Canada. But if you do spot these at your local market, do give them a try: they are lovely! I doubt any supermarket would stock these, but you can try asking for them.

The difference between dry and fresh chick peas is like night and day, or like edamame and dry soy beans. You can substitute fresh for dry garbanzos in any and all of your favourite recipe, but I wouldn't make hummus out of them, it would be a waste of a good thing. They actually taste more like fresh peas, so if you've grown tired of frozen peas, try fresh chick peas.

Once you've tried them, you will fall in love. I swear! You'll want to eat them all the time. Their season is none too short (these ones come from Texas, and are available until late May), but they are not readily available, so your best bet is to grow them yourself. Chick peas are legumes, so they do not require good soil, any old scrub land is fine. They do, however, require a long growing season: they can be planted as soon as the ground has thawed and is dry enough for you to walk on. There is a pretty variety of chick peas called Kabuli Black that is more suited to Northern gardeners. It is a smaller pea, almost all black and pretty as can be. But the garbanzos from your dry store will probably grow too, given enough time.

If  you grow them yourself, your crop will be ready to eat by mid to late summer. I suspect that Texan farmers grow chick peas as a cover crop to protect their land from winter erosion, which would explain why the fresh peas arrive so early in the year. In any case, you really must keep your eyes peeled for these babies! This is only the second year I've ever seen them at the market. I'm crossing my fingers for them to catch on this side of the border so we can have local peas!

Bon app'!


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