Don’t tell my family — but I’m experimenting with new recipes using garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas). I’m also exploring aquafaba (Latin for water - aqua and bean - faba).

Aquafaba is the liquid from garbanzo beans. The liquid can mimic an egg white foam and be a good substitute for egg allergies or in vegan recipes. The starch and protein from this liquid makes it functional as a binding agent, thickener and emulsifier. 

Let’s pause and review the terms I mentioned above. Binding agents are any ingredient that can help a mixture hold its shape or remain bound together. Thickeners are typically flour, starch and tapioca added to liquids for gravy, sauces, puddings, etc. Emulsifiers acts as an interface between the conflicting components of food like water and oil.

If you have a can of chickpeas and want to experiment with aquafaba, begin by shaking the can to redistribute the starches throughout the liquid. Open the can and drain the beans, reserving the liquid. You can freeze the liquid in 1 tablespoon portions in ice cube trays (once frozen, transfer to a freezer bag for future use). Fresh chickpea liquid can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.

For recipe conversion, use 3 tablespoons of aquafaba to equal 1 whole egg and 2 tablespoons aquafaba to equal 1 egg white.

If you want to make an aquafaba foam, use 4 ounces of liquid with 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar. When the aquafaba is whipped it will look like egg white foam. Add it as a replacement to recipes that call for whipped eggs (I plan to sneak it into waffles).

Here is a note of caution: Aquafaba can cause gastrointestinal distress or flatulence if you are sensitive to bean sugars. (Remember the song, “beans, beans, the magical fruit. …”) You may want to take a test run to see how you will respond to the product.

K-State Research and Extension is your source of “Knowledge for Life.” Contact our office at 221-5450 for answers to your questions.

Becky Reid is the family and consumer sciences agent for K-State Research and Extension, Cowley County. She can be reached at 221-5450 or (620) 441-4565.

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