What's cheaper, buying chickpeas in cans or rehydrating and cooking them yourself?
Intuitively I'd have guessed the home cooked chickpeas would be cheaper, but I wasn't sure. Maybe if you cook them in large enough batches you can somehow offset the increased costs of cooking and shipping water?
So I did the math myself.
The price of chickpeas varies quite a bit depending on which ones you buy. I sampled a few offers from Coop, Migros and Lidl.
For cooked chickpeas the cheapest price I found was 2.76 CHF/kg (non-organic, sold in 540g jars) and the most expensive one was 10.83 CHF/kg (organic, sold in 120g cans).
Dried chickpeas on the other hand are priced similarly everywhere - probably due to the fact that they all come in a standard 500g bag size and are organic. Prices range from around 4 CHF to around 6 CHF.
All in all you pay a premium for not shopping at a discounter, for buying organic and for buying smaller batches - no news here. I could imagine you could get cheaper chickpeas by shopping at a Turkish supermarket, but that's probably true for both canned and dried chickpeas.
For the sake of comparison, let's just take the cheapest cooked vs the cheapest dried chickpeas. The dried chickpeas are organic and the cooked ones aren't, but whatever. At this point it looks like the cooked chickpeas win handily (2.76 CHF/kg vs 3.98 CHF/kg). But dried chickpeas gain weight while soaking and cooking. How much exactly?
Soaking and cookingI started with 200g of dried chickpeas:
After soaking their weight had increased to 407g - more than 2x!
Cooking added another 10g to that. I had to try a chickpea or two to taste for done-ness, so that's not included in the weight after cooking.
All in all, that's roughly a 110% increase in weight. For a fair comparison, this takes the dried chickpeas from 3.98 CHF/kg raw down to 1.91 CHF/kg, clearly cheaper than the canned chickpeas.
But wait, cooking them did use some gas and water. How does that factor in?
Gas and water costs
I don't actually pay for water myself, the water costs in this building are distributed evenly across the tenants. Also water is really cheap around here, about 1 CHF/m³, so I'll consider it negligible.
As for the gas costs: I took a photo of the gas counter before
and after cooking.
As you can see, I've used up around 0.032 m³ of gas. Interestingly cooking gas is paid in kWh, at a rate of 0.15 CHF/kWh. Looking at my old bills I found a conversion rate of 10.906 kWh/m³, which means cooking the chickpeas cost about... 0.05 CHF.
You could cook more than 200g at once and have the costs go down, but I'm just going to scale that up to an entire kg of cooked chickpeas and assume around 0.13 CHF for 1kg of final product.
All in all, the grand total is 2.04 CHF/kg for dried compared to 2.76 CHF/kg for cooked.
So yes, dried chickpeas are quite a bit cheaper than canned ones, even if you get the organic ones.
Realistically however, chances are that your labor cost dwarfs everything else, especially if you write a blog post about it. Cooking is mostly unattended time, but it's still non-zero work. There is of course also the cost of cleaning the dishes but you can re-use the pot you used to cook the chickpeas to cook the actual meal.
Personally, I very much prefer the taste of freshly cooked chickpeas too.
When I was in high school, I used to be somewhat more of a bike enthusiast. Some days, I would just ride 25km into the city, buy a bottle of water, and then ride back, because that's what I did. That enthusiasm faded away when I moved to Zurich - a city that is not only home to a couple of vicious hills, but also to an awesome public transport system.
I did buy a used bike at some point, but in contrast to my public transport pass I used it rather sparingly. In October, I locked it somewhere in the city, promising to ride it back home some time, and by January it was gone.
So this year, I decided to get back to biking. I let my public transport ticket run out and bought a "new" bike - that one in the picture. It's actually quite old, it has bike insurance stickers from the late 90s, but the components are pretty good.
I bought my bike on April 10 and started using it immediately. I used it to get to work most days, and when my train pass ran out on May 6th, every day. Including a trip of 120km around the lake and some others, I estimate a total distance of over 1000km.
I tried to figure out if this bike purchase was actually saving me money or making me money. So as close as I could get, here are the results:
Public Transport Tickets:
Okay, this doesn't look so great, and it doesn't even include increased food consumption (which I didn't measure) and time. However, it is worth noting that most bike expenses are actually one-time fees. I could ride my bike tomorrow and not pay anything, while I would have to renew my public transport tickets. Furthermore, the timing wasn't really perfect for maximum cost efficiency: I spent almost a month having a valid monthly train ticket but not actually using it anymore, since I was riding my bike. Finally, one day, my bike light broke and I had to go by train which is why I had to subtract CHF 13.20 from my savings.
Overall, with the right timing, I could have arrived at expenses of 0 in about 2 months.
Each day that I go to work by bike instead of using the train, I only spend an additional 10 minutes per direction for my commute - and my commute is already pretty long. Over the time, those 10 minutes accumulated to about 12 hours. This does not include the additional time needed for showers. At least, I save a bit of time when grocery shopping now, since I don't have to walk to the store anymore.
Stuff that's hard to measure
I'm pretty sure there are some health benefits to biking. I know that my leg muscles have gotten stronger: In the beginning, I was a little bit tired at work, but that disappeared after a week or so. But overall, the health benefits are somewhat intangible.
There's quite a quality of life improvement though: I prefer biking a lot over standing (or even sitting) in a crowded train for 30 minutes doing nothing. On sunny days, that is. But even when I had to fight my way through the rain, biking did improve my mood. It might have to do with the beautiful bike route to work along the river or the physical exercise.
Is it worth it?
I think so. From here on, it only gets better: I'm more accustomed to biking and from now on I'm saving money. I feel like the bike is pretty low-maintenance, over the >1000km, I've only had to add air to the tires and oil to the chain. Sadly, I might have to buy a train ticket in winter again.