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Whenever I boil chickpeas aka garbanzo beans, I usually scoop up and discard the foam that rises to the top of the pot. Is there any reason other than for aesthetics to remove the foam?

As a secondary question, has anyone tried using this foam as an ingredient? It seems like it contains a lot of protein because the bubbles are stiff and resistant to popping. The flavor is pleasant, and the texture is unique.

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I would say the only reason to remove it is to avoid it getting over your beans at the end (you get it with pretty much every other kind of bean). –  Marcin Oct 11 '10 at 21:26
    
And I have never tried using it as an ingredient. –  Marcin Oct 11 '10 at 21:26
    
For some reason I feel like I get more with chickpeas, but you're right, it does happen with other beans. With regard to getting it on the beans: most things I use chickpeas for (hummus, falafel, curries), I feel like the foam would just sort of blend in and not be noticed. Maybe not, though. –  kevins Oct 11 '10 at 22:07
    
I have never tired using that foam as an ingredient. Could be very interesting though... –  daniel Oct 12 '10 at 0:17
    
+1 for the interesting question. –  BaffledCook Oct 12 '10 at 21:02
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3 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

According to a quick search it appears that your notion about it being protein-based is correct. Most of the recipes I've seen say to skim it; the above-linked site says that adding a little oil will keep the foam down.

I personally wouldn't do anything with it as an ingredient unless I had a truly massive amount of it to experiment with--I don't know enough about the properties to make anything other than wild guesses about how it would work. The only similar material I can think of would be beaten egg whites, but unless you were desperate for a vegan alternative and were already boiling up vats full of chickpeas I'd just use the eggwhites.

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Well I am vegan, and I actually do boil up vats at a time--when I cook beans I always pressure can 12-14 quarts of them. I might save some and try them for an egg white substitute and see how it does. –  kevins Oct 13 '10 at 5:52
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Well, there you go, then. ;-p Let me know how the experiment turns out. –  munin Oct 13 '10 at 16:45
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I find that occasionally there will be chaff in beans after boiling them. As a result, after draining I rinse the beans before using them, which in turn rinses away the foam. If you scoop away the foam I suppose that is one way to try to experiment with it; but if you're planning on draining without rinsing I would advise against it as you may end up with chaff in your hummus.

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A little late answer but one time I experimented with using the foam from cooked chickpeas. I mixed it with a little sugar, put it on a pan and popped it in the oven. It hardened up, browned and came out somewhat similar to a meringue with a nice sweet taste, but I waited a bit too long, so the foam wasn't quite as fluffy as beaten egg whites. I'm not sure how you would get enough or be able to use it fast enough before the foam starts deteriorating.

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