Cooking and Baking

Soaking Dried Beans: How long is too long?

I've been inspired by past threads on SE to start buying dried, rather than canned, beans. Most everyone says to soak them overnight. Last night I put a pot of dried chickpeas on the stove to soak; this morning I woke up, forgot all about them, and went to school. When I got home and looked in the pot, there was spotty white foam all over the top of the water (it looked a bit like mold, but hard to say). All told, they were probably soaking on my stovetop for about 18 hours. Is this bad? Should I have put them in the fridge? If I eat them will something horrible happen to me? I'm a (very poor) grad student, so I really hate to throw out food, and I want to understand what I did wrong. Help?!

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