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What went wrong with my chick peas? Yuck.

  • m

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.

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  1. 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

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

      1. re: mvi

        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

          Interesting. Maybe that is it. Thanks!

          1. re: mvi

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

            1. re: mvi

              Jackpot. That's it. Way too much

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

        4 Replies
        1. re: lowereastrittenhouse

          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

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

            1. re: Das Ubergeek

              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

              stones won't dissolve…dirt clots will.

            3. 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

                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

                  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

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

              2. 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

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

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

                  1. karl s knows the right answer.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: alkapal

                      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

                        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

                          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.

                      2. 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

                          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

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

                            1. re: alkapal

                              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

                                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

                                  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. 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

                              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

                                i never use baking soda anyways.

                                1. re: alkapal

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