what was wrong with my hummus
July 25, 2009 4:07 PM   Subscribe

my trader joe's hummus had flakes of something or other in it, which I've never seen before. what could this be?

so I just opened up a new container of trader joe's hummus (the plain organic variety, with the green lid), and something about it seemed off. it was almost flavorless, little to no aroma, and more coarse and dry than I remember. after eating some I noticed some very small whitish, translucent flakes that I first thought were flakes of bread, but upon closer inspection were in the hummus. they sort of looked like bits of onion or garlic skin, but a bit thicker. don't recall ever noticing this in TJ's hummus before, so I stopped eating it. can anyone ID this foreign substance? on a whim I googled "chickpea skin" and found this page. I never knew chickpeas had skins, so I'm wondering if the flakes were bits of chickpea skin and maybe my hummus was from a batch that wasn't fully processed (also explaining the coarser texture and specks of solid chickpea).

sorry if this question too trivial to post, but after some googling I found this question about TJ's hummus and sort of freaked out about contamination (my hummus didn't explode though). I called the store and they offered a refund, but hadn't received any similar comments about it.
posted by fishtacos to Food & Drink (8 answers total)
Can you take a picture of it? It could be any of the things you listed above. Your natch may have lost some moisture. When hummus goes bad, it's really obvious, color and odor-wise.

And you freaked out about a single Askme post about bad hummus from TJs from over 2 years ago? Really? You probably wouldn't want me to tell you about all of the little critters that get in your mouth every moment of every day , would you?
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 4:41 PM on July 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

Your BATCH may have lost some moisture. I cannot, in any way, speak to the moisture of your natch.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 4:42 PM on July 25, 2009 [5 favorites]

I would also guess chickpea skin. Traditional recipes often recommend you remove the skins since it'll make a more smooth hummus, but I almost never do it because it's a pain in the ass. I don't think canned chickpeas are skinned either, and I can't really see Trader Joe's putting any extra effort into skinning them. If the flakes looked (texture-wise) at all like the skins in the photos (they're pretty representative photos) then there's your answer.
posted by beerbajay at 5:24 PM on July 25, 2009 [2 favorites]

Chickpea skin, probably. They look like fish scales after they're through the food processor.

Hummus isn't the kind of thing that lends itself to a lot of granularity re. bad v. not bad. If it's bad, as you've noted, it will explode in your face. It will also smell horrible.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 5:28 PM on July 25, 2009

Also, I would consider including the skins more authentic, and more healthy (more fiber), than not.

So, it's probably cheaper for them to produce that way, but I think also probably better.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 5:29 PM on July 25, 2009

Your noting that it was "almost flavorless" qualifies it for a refund. Trader Joe's website states, "Our Product Guarantee: We tried it! We liked it! If you don’t, bring it back for a full refund, no questions asked."
posted by Morrigan at 6:59 PM on July 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

Food loses flavor before it goes bad, so I suspect it's on it's way. The dried flakes might be the hummus itself, dried up. Is there a hole in your container, or could the lid have been left partly open? I'd return it, or toss it, at least.
posted by zinfandel at 8:02 PM on July 25, 2009

TJ's will have no problem with taking the stuff back and refunding your money.
They have great products but are not always perfect. We have returned food before with no problem. They stand behind their stuff.
posted by SLC Mom at 10:03 AM on July 26, 2009

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