Never Peel Chickpeas Again With One Simple Trick

Whether they're transformed into a rich, creamy hummus, roasted into delicious crunchy snacks, or added to a soup or salad, chickpeas are a great, nutritious way to add a ton of flavor and texture to a meal. They're also a great source of protein that can help with weight management, blood sugar regulation, and overall brain health, perĀ Healthline.

One obstacle in cooking with chickpeas, though, is handling their fleshy shells. These simple legumes have light, papery, transparent skins. These skins will be present whether the legume is dried and rehydrated or simply comes from a can. Either way, the annoying skins can get frustratingly stuck between teeth like popcorn kernels, and absolutely ruin a good hummus.

Anyone who's ever tried to make hummus at home without doing their research first has likely encountered the grainy, chalky texture that comes with including the skins. Of course, it's no easy task to perfectly de-shell every single bean either. Luckily there are a few good methods out there to easily de-shell large batches of chickpeas without too much hassle.

Baking soda is the secret ingredient to skinless chickpeas

Next time you're craving a perfectly smooth hummus, or a batch of crispy chickpeas, make sure you have your baking soda on hand. Cooks Illustrated came across this secret tip in Yotam Ottolenghi and Sam Tamimi's cookbook, "Jerusalem: a Cookbook."

The chefs write that by soaking dried beans in water mixed with baking soda, they're able to raise the water's pH balance. This softens the chickpeas, and makes it so the fragile and undesired skins disintegrate when they are later cooked. Cooks Illustrated notes that this method works just as well for canned beans too. Their time-saving method calls for heating beans in water with a teaspoon and a half of baking soda per 14-ounce can before rinsing them thoroughly, and then shaking them with your hands to remove the skins.

Cookie and Kate recommends a similar method where hydrated beans are boiled for 20 minutes with some added baking soda. Then, just rinse them thoroughly under some cool water and proceed with your hummus recipe as usual. They say this overcooks the chickpeas so that they are already partially broken down when they're run through the food processor, and results in a smooth and creamy final product that will beat the store-bought stuff any day of the week.