Hummus: The Gateway Drug

Hummus: The Gateway Drug

A few moments ago, sitting where I am sitting now, sipping from my morning coffee, writing and deleting sentence after sentence, unsure of how to begin this post, I decided to reach for google. I asked google for statistics regarding the amount of hummus consumed globally per year. I found that in 2015, sales of hummus in the US totaled around $725 million.  That’s a lot of hummus. I discovered something even more important and surprising while googling, hummus prices are about to get way higher.

In the last three years India (the world’s largest consumer/producer of chickpeas) has experienced fairly severe draughts leading to lower than normal chickpea crop yields. Because of this India has had to reach beyond its borders and import chickpeas from other producing nations. On top of this, there has been a year over year increase in demand for hummus in Europe and North America. Putting these factors together you see an increase in demand and a decrease in production, leading to higher than normal chickpea prices. According to the New York Times article cited above, the UK has seen a 12% price increase in chickpea prices in the last year alone. This is just the beginning.

As with any convenience product, premade hummus costs more to buy than it does to make it at home. If you want to continue to enjoy hummus over the next 12 to 24 months, you may want to consider learning to make it yourself, and even possibly subbing white beans for the chickpeas. Making hummus, with chickpeas or white beans, is incredibly easy. You will need a food processor of some type but you can pick up a small one for around $40 ( ).

There are only six ingredients in hummus.

  • Chickpeas
  • Lemon Juice
  • Garlic
  • Tahini
  • Salt
  • Olive Oil

The one that might be standing out to you there is Tahini. Tahini is simple sesame seed puree. Essentially, sesame seed butter. You can buy Tahini in the international section of most grocery stores, or you can also sub in peanut butter or anything nut butter.

A very basic hummus recipes goes as follows.hummus ingredients

  • 1 can chickpea (drained and rinsed)
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 3 – 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp Tahini
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Put all of these ingredients in your food processor and puree. You may need to add a tbsp or two of water to make it a bit smoother but that’s it. You can also follow the exact same recipe but sub the chickpeas for white beans.

hummus done

This article is titled “Hummus; The Gateway Drug”, the reason being that I honestly think that hummus can be a gateway for a lot of people, into the world of home cooking. I find that often when people see how easy hummus is to make, and how much cheaper it is to make, they being to look at what else they could be making instead of buying. This is a good thing.

More than ever we live in a global community. A drought on the other side of the world affects chickpea prices here. This is not an isolated instance, nor will it be the last time we see something like this. We are about to being to see these drastic increases in the price of foodstuffs more and more in the coming years due to droughts, fires, insect infestations, floods, and other natural disasters. This is not me being an alarmist, it’s reality. I recommend that you take the time and learn to cook for yourself because it is not unrealistic to think that within our lifetime convenience foods may become impractically expensive. If and when that happens, those of us who understand cooking and food will still be able to eat well.  Let hummus be your gateway into the world of cooking, because someday it may really matter.


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