When I was small, in Macedonia, I was first introduced to chickpeas in the form of leblebii. We bought them in nut stores all over town and ate them while walking around in the city or at home. They were eaten and burned like peanuts so to say. I didn’t really have a clue what they were, they were dry, but had a special taste and I loved them. When we moved to the Netherlands leblebii disappeared from my life as people there didn’t eat them as nuts as we did.
Many years later they re-appeared in disguise, as falafel, and became one of my favourite snacks as a vegetarian. As they came in disguise I never linked them to my beloved leblebii. But, by the time I was introduced to hummus in my early twenties, probably I could link that to falafel and falafel to leblebii. And all those also to the name of the main ingredient in both English as Dutch. That brought a lot of clarity in my life as you can understand.
I then knew where chickpeas were present in my life. I still didn’t know how they grew though. What they actually were? Was it a nut as we bought it in nut stores in Macedonia? Or was it something else? This week it was finally time to take the chickpeas off a plant I grew myself and while I was doing that and wondering how I was supposed to take them down I realised that it took me 32 years to figure out how chick peas grow. Extremely long if you ask me. But it was worth the wait.
Chickpeas grow on perfectly beautiful tender plants in tiny hairy pods. You can take them down both as the pod is still green (fresh) as well as brown (dry) depending on how you want to prepare them. When we set up a kitchen garden earlier this year in France I understood in one of the garden groups I’m part of that you could grow chick peas in your garden. Like peas, hence the name. I jumped on the train and ordered a pack of “seeds”. “Seeds” because they were actually just like the dried chick peas you can buy in the shop, only 3 times more expensive. But I couldn’t be demotivated. It was going to happen. I was going to grow my own chick peas. The circle was almost round.
I love this kind of