Also known as
Lens culinaris, daal, and pulse
Plant Family: Fabaceae
Lentils are bushy annual plants that are a part of the legume family. They are thought to have originated in the Middle East, or Southeast Asia during the Neolithic period. It is thought to be one of the first agricultural crops, and it grows well in all of the limited rainfall areas of the world. Half the worlds production comes from India, but Canada is the world's largest exporter.
The seeds can be eaten raw, or as sprouts, added to salads or used in salads.
The protein content levels of lentil seeds range from 22-35%, making it the third highest plant based food after soy and hemp. They have high levels of several amino acids, and are one of the best plant based sources for iron.
You will need to soak the seeds for 8-14 hours, but they will sprout within 1-2 days. They should be rinsed at least every 12 hours to avoid mould growing. The seeds should be refrigerated after sprouting.
The history of mans use of lentils goes back many centuries. Hippocrates prescribed them to his patients for liver ailments. In 19th century Europe they were called the "poor man's meat". In India there are over 50 varieties grown. In Jewish tradition lentils are considered, with eggs, to be the food of mourners.
At this time there are no known precautions that should be taken when consuming red lentils.
For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.