Fun Finds

Seared fresh garbanzos. You'll eat the entire bowl-full.

Have you ever had a fresh garbanzo bean?

I’m not talking the hard, yellow ones out of a can.

I mean the far tinier ones still encased in their fuzzy, papery green pods that you can find — if you look hard enough — in markets such as Whole Foods and Berkeley Bowl at this time of year. The latter is where I bought mine for $3.29 a pound.

Tender and nutty tasting, the beans, once steamed or blanched, can be made into pesto or tossed into salads just like you would edamame or peas.

The fresh pods with the tiny beans inside.

My favorite way to enjoy them is one of the easiest. Just rinse them under water, shake dry, and place in a saute pan with a little olive oil. Put a lid on and cook for 5-8 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally so they don’t burn.

The green shells will get charred in spots and the beans inside will soften. Sprinkle on a little sea salt and transfer to a serving bowl. Provide napkins as you pass the bowl for your guests to dig into this peel-and-eat pile with abandon. They make for the easiest cocktail snack — ever.

An orange that tastes like a mango.

Now, have you ever tried an orange that tastes like a mango?

Nope, me, neither, until I spied — yes — Mango Oranges at Berkeley Bowl.

From the outside, they look like your ordinary orange. But inside, the flesh has an amazing deep pink-peach blush.

And the flavor?

Yes, remarkably like a mango. There’s far less acid. Instead, there’s an almost creamy quality with faint coconut and vanilla notes.

As the juice squirts into your mouth, close your eyes and it’s not hard to imagine you’re on a balmy tropical island. And that’s not too shabby for $2.19 a pound.

More Fun Produce: Padron Peppers

And: Fresh Wasabi

And: Buddha’s Hand

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  • Great fiinds! I am particularly intrigued by those mango oranges…



  • I first discovered fresh garbanzo beans from a Mercury News Food Section article which I believe was by one Carolyn Jung! Not sure but regardless. They are a great treat.

    At the time, I found them at Cosentino’s so I suspect they will have them at Lunardi’s.

  • Moe: You have a great memory! Yes, it was me who wrote that story for the Mercury News. And it was indeed because I had come across the fresh garbanzos at Cosentino’s. 😉

  • I haven’t seen either at my local markets but that orange sounds amazing.

  • WOW.. those mango oranges look amazing! I much prefer the texture of an orange but love the taste of mango. I MUST try this soon 🙂

  • I think I have seen those beans at Whole Foods but I thought they will be difficult to cook so I did not buy them. Now you make it sound easy, I hope there are still fresh beans left for me in the store. 🙂

  • I’ve never seen fresh garbanzo beans. I think I would get confuse and think they’re edamame because they look very similar. The prep you did sounds simple and perfect to enjoy them. I’m skeptical about the mango orange. Coming from Hawaii, I think a mango should be a mango and an orange an orange. LOL. Why fool around with perfection? (Plus, I once saw another fruit that said it promised to taste like a mango, and it was not. I think people think mangoes are exotic that it’ll entice people to try it if you say it reminds them of mangoes.)

  • I never have seen fresh chickpeas before! That’s very interesting too. I never have seen that special orange before ! Great finds!

  • Ben, count me as one of the initially confused. When I looked at the first pic, I thought, wow those edamame look kind of weird. Then I started reading and found out that they were fresh garbanzos. It’s neat to see what they look like.

    The thought of mango oranges is trippy… I’m on the fence about it. I like my mangoes on the smooth and soft side, I guess. 🙂

  • OMG Mango Orange? I REALLY want to try that! I wonder if there are any stores besides Berkeley Bowl to get that… It’s pain to cross the bridge. If I find them I have to buy a lot. I know I will love them. My mouth is already reacting by imagining the taste… Drool!

  • I need to scavenge my local grocery stores for these…they both sound delicious!

  • I’ve found fresh garbanzos at Foothill produce where Foothill Expy intersects the 280, in the Trader Joe’s and RiteAid shopping center. And at their sister store in Sunnyvale, Felipe’s – formerly known as Sunnymount Produce at Grape and El Camino, across the street from the Honda dealer. In fact, Carolyn, I wonder if you shouldn’t do a series of reviews of independently-owned grocery stores like Berkeley Bowl.
    Next time I cook the garbanzos, I’m going to sprinkle them with lime and chili powder. I think they’re a little fiddly to eat, but definitely delicious.

  • I’ve never tried fresh garbanzo bean before! I can imagine how fragrant they are after pan fry. See if I can hunt them down at my local Whole Foods. 🙂 hm…and that Mango Orange also sounds interesting. Never know such a thing exist. 😛

  • A friend gave me a buddha’s hand grown from his own garden in Milpitas…..very unusual! Have you ever cooked with it? I did not but it was fun to look at on my kitchen counter!!

  • I felt the same way when I discovered, and then grew, fresh favas in Arizona. They were so good. Hard to find here in Wi. Then again, we have ramps:).

  • Hmmmm, creamy coconuty orange? I can’t even picture it! But I’m only 10 minutes walk from Berkeley Bowl, hope they still have it when I get there 😀

  • I love fresh garbanzo beans, and that is also my favorite way to prepare them! I’ve never had mango oranges, but that sounds absolutely amazing.

  • Oh my goodness I’m fascinated by the mango orange! 😮

  • I love fresh garbanzos and they have been abundant at local farmers’ markets…will have to try them this way 🙂 But the Mango Orange…will have to look for those!

  • What a great find! I have only been exposed to yellow garbanzo beans (the normal hummus, etc…) but these look so much tastier. I cannot wait to definitely find these at my local Whole Foods/Central Market and try them.

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