Value for money in legumesNovember 30, 2008
Following up on Stephen’s post on the musical fruit, I thought I’d weight up my options on chickpeas, one of my favoured legumes.
Chickpeas are blimmin great, they’re moister than most legumes, they make dishes like hummus (one of everybody’s favourites), and spicy pumpkin and chickpea soup.
The question you have to ask yourself is, is it better to buy dried or tined beans? From an environmental point of view you’re going to go for dried. Other than the cost of heating the water to cook the legumes, the only other cost is transportation of said legume to the market in which you the consumer purchase it. Tinned things on the other hand are heavy, using more fossil fuels, and need additional products like tins to be manufactured.
So no real competition there.
But. And there’s always a but. Are they easier on the back pocket?
100g of dried chickpeas from the local New World costs $0.99, and that seems like a pretty good deal right? Even with the cost of cooking them added in, they’re still going to come in cheap (incidentally, if anyone knows the kw/h used by a typical household stovetop, I’d love to hear it. The interweb has been useless in this instance).
I took my 100g of chickpeas, soaked and cooked them, and ended up with ~230g of ready to eat peas.
In the tinned variety, you can buy 415g of cooked chickpeas from the Pams range for $1.55. That’s almost twice as many peas for only $0.56 more, right?! Wrong. Once you tip off the brine they use to preserve the peas after cooking them for you, you end up with ~245g of peas.
My shonky maths stands to be corrected, so lets run through this carefully.
- Dried chickpeas are $0.99 for ~230g ready to eat, making them $4.30 per kg.
- Tinned chickpeas are $1.55 for ~245g ready to eat, making them $6.33 per kg.
What this tells me is that the manufacturer has added 68% more value to their product by cooking them for you, which is lovely for them but not so lovely for you – or the environment.
And this is why frugality is so important to me. By getting it together to cook my own chickpeas I’m not only saving myself money, I’m preventing communal resources being squandered on useless commercial activity. Worse, supermarkets are full of this type of crap. Instant pasta sauce? I’m looking at you, buddy…
UPDATE: There’s an “Turkic” store of some kind in Newtown that sells pulses. Their chickpeas are $5 a kilo. This would add up to $2.15 per kilo cooked. I’d say you’re hard-pressed to find a better bargain than that.
The place is on the corner of Constable/Riddiford St, heading towards New World. Which I was.