Look For This Ingredient When Buying Canned Chickpeas For Aquafaba

Especially for those who follow a vegan diet, it's always useful to have canned chickpeas on hand. Not only are the chickpeas the base of many tasty recipes, but the brine they're canned in can be whipped into aquafaba. Aquafaba can make practically any dessert vegan-friendly or extra light and fluffy, and it's even used as a substitute for eggs and mayonnaise.

Given that you only need one ingredient to make it, the process of making aquafaba is pretty foolproof. Just strain the liquid from the chickpeas and take an electric mixer to it, Inspired Taste explains. As it gets whipped, the natural starches in the liquid bind together and trap air, transforming it into a foam. But although it looks a lot like meringue or whipped cream, aquafaba isn't quite as stable. It holds its shape better and longer when you add cream of tartar or sugar, according to America's Test Kitchen. However, if you buy a particular type of canned chickpeas, you can skip those extra ingredients and get stabilized results.

Not all canned chickpeas are made the same

It's possible to make aquafaba with any cooked chickpea liquid, but the components of the liquid vary slightly across different canned food brands. Some may have more salt, while others may contain different preservatives, but generally speaking, you should still be able to get reliable results when using it to make aquafaba. However, the one ingredient that will always yield better aquafaba is kombu.

According to Serious Eats, kombu is a carrageenan-rich carbohydrate often added to processed foods because of its natural stabilizing and emulsifying properties. It's most commonly used in dairy-based products like boxed mac and cheese and condensed milk, but you can find it in canned chickpeas too. The effects of the additive are so strong that you won't need to add cream of tartar or sugar to your aquafaba to whip it into stiff peaks. Next time you buy canned chickpeas for aquafaba, you'll definitely want to check the ingredients list for kombu.