dirt(y) little legume secrets
(Legume: fancy word for anything that grows in a pod, i.e. lentils and chickpeas in this case.)
As a proud owner of a box of dirt(y) kabuli chickpeas, red nipper or red nugget lentils, there are a few things you ought to know…read on!
dirt(y) is clean
A pebble stone or two may be present in our lentils or chickpeas. But we do run our legumes through a state of the art gravitational and vibratory sorting process which removes 99.0 something % of chaff and pebble stone, which are naturally occurring debris due to the product being a ground crop.
We are confident that our pure grain lentils and chickpeas are indeed as pure as possible but advise you to always have a quick scan through the product before cooking just in case that pesky ".0 something" % slips through our stringent process.
If you do find pebble stone in dirt(y) pure grain product, put it in the shoe of someone you really don’t like AND contact us with the batch code, as we’re always endeavouring to improve our processes and we need your feedback to do this. We might even send you some free rocks as a reward.
to soak or not to soak
You don't need to soak our lentils overnight before cooking, 'cause the fibres in the cell walls will break down from cooking. However soaking does neutralise naturally occurring enzyme inhibitors and phytates in the lentils. Blah blah blah, what this means in ENGLISH is that phytates can hinder the absorption of vital mineral nutrients (calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron etc) in your guts. Think of phytates as a naturally occurring "firewall" stopping you from absorbing some of the good stuff that your body might need to get on with life. The downside to this argument is that there is some evidence that phytates have antioxidant properties, particularly in the role of fighting cancers. They do this by depriving cancer cells of the minerals they need to survive, but on the other hand, they are also going to block your body's cellular uptake of good minerals. Hah! Life is dirt(y) and unfair, it’s like winning the lottery and then paying it all to the taxman.......so we suggest soaking your lentils before cooking and your body will be happier.
As for chickpeas, soak them or they just won’t cook, duh! If you are a bad planner and forget to soak them, we forgive you! As a gesture of our compassion, we’ve included some instructions on how to “hot soak” below.
Pulses are subject to spoilage when left wet and warm, soak them in the fridge (and use plenty of water, they grow!) or they might just ferment which is fine if you are trying to make beer but not so fine if you are cooking dinner.
Discard soaking water? Again with the big black glasses, "Soaking will leach out the indigestible carbohydrates that make beans gassy. The disadvantage of pre-soaking is that you also leach out many other soluble materials, including vitamins and minerals. You retain more nutrients by cooking the beans in the soak water, but you also retain the gassy carbohydrates... (however)...extended cooking breaks down the gassy carbohydrates." *
We at dirt(y) just reckon if you are in a long term relationship and things are already on the slide because you have seen your partner cutting their toenails and squeezing their blackheads, then farting really shouldn't matter. If however things are still in the "honeymoon period" and you are still trying to impress, then discard soaking water and DON’T fart around your squeeze.
chickpea emergency!... hot soak
So you forgot to soak the chickpeas overnight…well you can do a hot soak instead. Throw the chickpeas into a pot and cover with cold water; bring up to boil for a minute; pop a lid on and turn the heat off and sit for 1 hour. Discard the soak water before commencing the actual cooking process according to the instructions below (or on the box).
into the pot
The less water you use when cooking, the faster your will cook. This is because of some mad science that I don’t understand, actually no, it’s simple ....less water means less carbohydrates are leached out into the cooking water; these carbs can’t easily be reabsorbed back into the beans when cooking and thus impede cooking time.
We recommend adding about 3 times the volume of cold water to chickpeas and for lentils about 4 times their volume (or 5 times if they haven’t been soaked).
We only sell this year's harvest of all our legumes. Mother nature puts her own spin on each harvest and as a result, cooking times can vary by as much as 10 mins from one harvest to the next. So the best advice we can give you is to read the cooking times on the box. But if you like your legumes a bit softer then cook for an extra 10 - 15 mins.
a faster way to cook... the pressure cooker
If you have a pressure cooker, you can actually cook your chickpeas without soaking overnight. Yes it's true, the pressure cooker is the saviour of the time-poor cook. Depending on your pressure cooker, your chickpeas will cook in around 30 - 40 mins. Cover with 5 times their volume of cold water and cook according to the instructions for your pressure cooker.
Although lentils don't require soaking overnight, they can also be cooked in a pressure cooker in around half the time of the traditional stove-top cooking process.
The best way to determine the cooking time for each pulse with your particular cooker, is by trial and error but if you get googling there are a number of guides to get you started with cooking times, like this one..
Boring, but the basic science seems to suggest that salt does not slow cooking time, so salt away! Or don’t if you don’t want to, whateffer. There is actually some evidence to suggest that contrary to popular belief salting does NOT toughen legumes, in fact the sodium in the salt displaces calcium and magnesium in the seed coat, softening the pectin and allowing them to soften more quickly.
*Harold McGhee, Food Guru!