You can buy chickpeas in most places both canned or dry. Canned chickpeas are the easiest to work with because they are already cooked, and ready to throw in a salad, or stew, or just eat as is. Unfortunately, most canned chickpeas are canned in a salty broth, or salty water, which reduces the health benefit of eating them.
My preferred method of buying chickpeas is dried. Dried chickpeas can generally be purchased bulk, or in 1/2 pound or 1 pound bags. Dried chickpeas have a very long shelf life, and do not need to be refrigerated. If you plan to keep chickpeas on your shelf for a while, a good preventative measure for keeping bugs from getting into your bags of chick peas is to put a dried bay leaf or two in your dried chickpeas. The bay leaves will keep your stored dry goods bug free.
To prepare the dried chickpeas, soak them in room temperature water overnight. Make sure that you put about twice as much water in the bowl as chickpeas. The chickpeas will soak up the water and expand to approximately twice the size that they are dry. Drain the water from the soaked chickpeas then put the chickpeas in a pot with fresh water covering them. Bring the water to a boil. When the water boils, you will notice a frothy residue forming at the top of the water. Turn the water to a simmer, and remove the residue from the water until it is gone. Continue to simmer until the chickpeas are fully cooked, usually about 30 minutes. The chickpeas should be easily bitten into or smashed. Once the chickpeas are fully cooked, drain the water again, and put them in a container with fresh water. They will stay fresh in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days, and they last longer if you change the water that they are sitting in every day.