Orion is a large-seeded kabuli chickpea developed by University of Saskatchewan, especially for our shorter growing season. Chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans, are beige-coloured, pea-shaped legumes. Popular in the Mediterranean, Middle East and South Asia, they have a mild nutty taste and can be a substitute for meat. Very, very nutritious!
Plant once the soil temperature has warmed to 15 C (60 F). Sow chickpeas in the garden as early as 2 ro 3 weeks before the average last frost in spring. Chickpeas require a long growing season. Sow chickpeas 2 to 5 cm (1½ to 2 in) deep, spaced 5 to 15 cm (3 to 6 in)s apart. Thin successful plants to 15 cm (6 in) apart; cut away thinned plants at soil level with scissors so as not to disturb roots. Space rows 45 to 60 cm (18 to 24 in) apart. Do not soak seed before sowing and avoid heavy watering after sowing to keep seeds from cracking. Chickpeas allowed to grow a bit crowded will offer each other support.) of row. For better yield use Nature’s Aid Inoculant
- Wait about 75 days from planting to harvest green chickpeas. Green chickpeas are harvested early, with one or two “peas” in each thin, green pod. They are a delicacy in many areas, prized for their fresh, springy flavor.
- Pick the green pods off of the plant, using your fingers to pinch them off. Gather the pods in a basket, bucket or some other container.
- Store green chickpeas in an airtight container. Store them in the refrigerator for five to seven days. For longer storage, blanch the early harvested, green garbanzos by steaming for one to two minutes and placing into an ice bath. Drain and freeze for up to eight months.
- Use your early harvested green chickpeas for a fresh take on classic favorites. They can be cooked in their pods, or shelled and steamed, or blanched to make fresh hummus or kicked up guacamole, or add to salads and other dishes.
Harvesting Mature Chickpeas
- Chickpeas take anywhere from three to seven months to reach full maturity. Wait until the plant’s leaves have shriveled up and turned brown before removing the whole plant from the ground.
- Lay the chickpea plant on a warm, flat surface. Let the plant dry for several days to give the pods enough time to dry out. Split the pods open and collect the seeds. Test the first one — if it barely dents when you bite it, then it is dry enough to store.
- Shell all of your dried chickpeas and store in an airtight container in a cool, dry spot. Dried chickpeas can be stored for up to one year.
- Soak dried chickpeas in water for four hours, or overnight, before cooking them and using them in your favorite recipes.