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What went wrong with my chick peas? Yuck.

mvi Oct 14, 2011 03:19 PM

I make home made hummus all the time. So this morning I dumped a bag of (cheap) dried chickpeas into some water (after rinsing), added some baking soda, and simmered them for about three or four hours, as usual.

I let them rest in the pot for about an hour and then decided to begin making the hummus. Got out the other ingredients- lemon, roasted garlic, tahini, etc.- but when I lifted the off the cover of the pot, I saw that the water was totally black, almost like coffee. (Yes, I had used chick peas, not black beans.) The beans looked funny. They had taken on a darker sheen. I drained them and as I did, I found that they really smelled. I then decided to taste a tiny bit, as it seemed impossible to have chickpeas go bad. They tasted absolutely awful, and my kitchen was starting to really stink.

I dumped everything out and ran the garbage bag down to the trash as the small was so bad. I did check the date on the bag, which indicated the beans had not expired. The pot was clean....Nothing unusual that I can recall.

This is a first. Any ideas? Just a bad bunch of beans? Is this normal? Should I spring for pricier chickpeas? These were just the ones you find at your local Shaws.

Kind of bummed as this was for a party. But yuck.

  1. Naguere Oct 16, 2011 10:12 PM

    I would suggest using only a teaspoon of baking soda , then,

    soak the chickpeas overnight having covered them well with boiling water, then,

    Rince chickpeas in fresh cold water, bring to boil and boil hard for ten minutes,

    add herbs and low simmer for an hour.

    Good luck

    3 Replies
    1. re: Naguere
      mvi Oct 17, 2011 04:17 AM

      Thanks all. Time for some experimentation. I do know I will not be using my new (aluminum) cooking pot next time. I love making hummus and experiment with it sometimes, so this will be another step forward in perfecting my recipe. Thanks, friends.

      1. re: mvi
        alkapal Oct 17, 2011 09:35 AM

        i never use baking soda anyways.

        1. re: alkapal
          cajundave Oct 17, 2011 02:59 PM

          Me either, although I have never figured out why one batch of beans give you gas and the next batch not as much.

    2. c
      cactusette Oct 15, 2011 03:58 AM

      All interesting! I didn't use baking soda, my pot was a lagostina stainless steel soup pot and my lentils did turn black and smelly. I guess there's a lot of reasons why that could happen then:( Since it was the first and only time I'm not too upset because it seems, like you, to be an isolated event.

      5 Replies
      1. re: cactusette
        mvi Oct 15, 2011 04:14 AM

        Hmmmm. Must be one of those other possibilities. So interesting. I wasn't too upset either, but curious about why this occurred. It was pretty strange.

        1. re: cactusette
          alkapal Oct 15, 2011 12:45 PM

          lentils? what kind? and what else was in there? that's odd. have you cooked them before?

          1. re: alkapal
            cactusette Oct 15, 2011 06:24 PM

            Lentils, carrots, onion and water. The lentils were cleaned before being put to simmer, but I don't know how well I did that. They were regular brown lentils, and yes I've cooked them often alone and not alone.Now that I think about it though, I might have had some oregano or some type of dried herb in there too...Do you think it was the spices?

            I guess with this new "factor" of herbs I just remembered, mvi's chick pea issue is very different than mine after all.

            1. re: cactusette
              alkapal Oct 16, 2011 02:08 PM

              since you indicated that you have cooked lentils before -- it really depends on how much oregano you put in…because lentils are dark, and then you add some herby-y stuff, it might look quite murky. if anyone is not so familiar with lentils, they might think they stink, too! LOL

              i have to say, i am not a big lentils fan. at all. although i DO admit that the carrabbas' sausage lentils soup is AWESOME. normally, i prefer things like good ol' black eyed peas as my legume of choice. LOL.

              this "clone" for the carrabbas recipe looks about right. http://www.food.com/recipe/sausage-an...

              i am serious -- that carrabbas soup is one GREAT soup. (read the reviews).

              1. re: alkapal
                cactusette Oct 16, 2011 04:15 PM

                Well I love lentils. Have you tried them(green ones) in salad with cranberry, almond and mandarine? My husband doesn't like them either, so I'm on the quest for that recipe that will make him go "you know what, this is good even though it has lentils in it". I'm gonna try this recipe!

                I'M actually curious enough to try and replicate my black legume mishap...I'm starting to think that you were spot on with the aluminium chemistry for mvi, and that it might have been something about the oregano in mine.

        2. alkapal Oct 14, 2011 05:18 PM

          karl s knows the right answer.

          4 Replies
          1. re: alkapal
            mvi Oct 14, 2011 05:26 PM

            Okay, all of you have really helped me out. I did use a new pot AND it looks to be aluminum. And I used too much baking soda. So, while it may be suspicious toxins or a stone, I am pretty suspicious that it is the new pot (which I had just lovingly embraced and not really thought much about), mixed with too much baking soda. Next time...a pinch and a different pot. And I think I will use better quality chickpeas, too.

            Further theories are welcome indeed. This has been very gratifying and I do thank you. It was really disgusting. Not to mention disappointing.

            1. re: mvi
              alkapal Oct 15, 2011 03:33 AM

              and weird! but look what i found in a physics forum -->>>"""Yes, baking soda (saturated), and heated to about 150F is the standard technique for slow-etching aluminum. I think the etch rate is of the order of a couple microns a minute at that temperature.""""<<<< http://www.physicsforums.com/archive/...

              i think that your baking soda etched the aluminum, putting some of it into the water in solution. where is chemical kinetics? he could tell us!

              also remember, aluminum pots are not to be used for acidic foods, like tomato sauces and the like.

              1. re: alkapal
                mvi Oct 15, 2011 04:13 AM

                Fascinating. I think we've solved it. But I am very impressed with all of the possible solutions. Thanks so much. I'll have to use a different pot for my hummus.

                1. re: alkapal
                  wyogal Oct 15, 2011 03:02 PM


            2. m
              mvi Oct 14, 2011 05:06 PM

              You all are the best! Thanks so much. White vinegar on the way.

              1. b
                bbq babe Oct 14, 2011 04:55 PM

                My guess would be that the chick peas were stored near/exposed to something toxic at some point.

                I had a really nasty experience with some black beans that tasted like air freshener after cooking. The problem didn't show up during soaking and rinsing.

                1 Reply
                1. re: bbq babe
                  mvi Oct 14, 2011 05:12 PM

                  Really strange....I think I am not going to go for that brand again and spring for a nicer quality.

                2. c
                  cactusette Oct 14, 2011 04:17 PM

                  well I'm really curious to follow this thread as the same thing happened to me and lentils the other day...

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: cactusette
                    mvi Oct 14, 2011 04:25 PM

                    Then I am not alone! I Googled it and found nothing. It really was odd. My suspicion now rests on the stones if they are more like clay than hard rocks. I must have missed one. But other theories are more than welcome as I really do not want to deal with this again. Kitchen still stinks.

                    1. re: mvi
                      Isolda Oct 14, 2011 04:48 PM

                      To get rid of the stink, pour white vinegar in a small container (a baby food jar or similar size), and leave it out overnight. The smell will be gone by tomorrow morning. I learned that trick here and it works amazingly well.

                      1. re: Isolda
                        Das Ubergeek Oct 16, 2011 09:30 PM

                        And then make a pot of freshly ground coffee to cover the vinegar stink.

                  2. l
                    lowereastrittenhouse Oct 14, 2011 03:30 PM

                    Did you pick out any debris beforehand? Stones can dissolve into the water.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: lowereastrittenhouse
                      mvi Oct 14, 2011 04:11 PM

                      You know, I rinsed, but maybe I was not thorough enough in looking through them for stones. Are the stones clay based and thus able to dissolve and corrupt the water, turning it black? This seems like the most likely scenario.

                      I have to say, the whole thing really stank. I had to rush the whole mess out out to the trash pronto. Sprayed lots of sweet smelling home made room freshener around, but it still kind of smells.

                      Seems so odd, as I have been making hummus for years and this was a first.

                      I know this is kind of a bizarre question and I do appreciate your opinions. I'd rather not have this happen again!

                      1. re: lowereastrittenhouse
                        Das Ubergeek Oct 14, 2011 04:22 PM

                        On a similar note, maybe there was a metal object—one of a different type than the pot.

                        1. re: Das Ubergeek
                          mvi Oct 14, 2011 04:43 PM

                          Another good idea. This is great detective work and I really appreciate this. Maybe some small metal piece was there and I missed it during the rinse. Stranger things have happened. I have found assorted little plastic bits and bugs in food before.

                        2. re: lowereastrittenhouse
                          alkapal Oct 14, 2011 05:17 PM

                          stones won't dissolve…dirt clots will.

                        3. Karl S Oct 14, 2011 03:23 PM

                          how much baking soda did you use? it has to be used with a very light hand in this kind of thing.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: Karl S
                            mvi Oct 14, 2011 04:04 PM

                            I used about a tablespoon. Too much? About three or four cups of water with the whole bag of chickpeas.

                            1. re: mvi
                              wyogal Oct 14, 2011 04:10 PM

                              way too much. I just use a pinch, and then I just use it for the first boil, let it sit a bit, then drain, rinse, and start again. What type of pan? Aluminum, perhaps?

                              1. re: wyogal
                                mvi Oct 14, 2011 04:40 PM

                                Interesting. Maybe that is it. Thanks!

                                1. re: mvi
                                  Karl S Oct 14, 2011 05:06 PM

                                  Oh, baking soda should never be used in an aluminum pan. And a tablespoon is a lot.

                                  1. re: mvi
                                    scubadoo97 Oct 15, 2011 02:57 PM

                                    Jackpot. That's it. Way too much

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