Wikipedia Article About Lentil on Wikipedia
The lentil (Lens culinaris) is a bushy annual plant of the legume family, grown for its lens-shaped seeds. It is about 40cm tall and the seeds grow in pods, usually with two seeds in each. The plant originated in the Near East, and has been part of the human diet since the aceramic Neolithic. With 25% protein it is the vegetable with the highest level of protein other than soybeans, and because of this it is a very important part of the diet in many countries, and especially India which has a large vegetarian population.
A variety of lentils exist with colors that range from yellow to red-orange to green, brown and black. The colours of the seeds when removed from the pods also vary, and there are large and small varieties. They are sold in many forms, with or without the pods, whole or split.
The seeds have a short cooking time (especially for small varieties with the husk removed, such as the common red lentil) and a distinctive earthy flavor. Lentils are used to prepare an inexpensive and nutritious soup all over Europe and North America, sometimes combined with some form of pork. They are frequently combined with rice, which has a similar cooking time. Lentils are used throughout the Mediterranean regions and the Middle East.
In India, lentils are known as Dal, as however are most sorts of dried legumes. The dishes made predominantly of lentils are also known as Dal. India is the largest producer of lentils in the world.
Canada is the largest export producer of lentils in the world and Saskatchewan is the most important producing region in Canada. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that world production of lentils totalled 3.2 million metric tons (MT) in 2003. Canada produced 520,000 MT and, according to the market analysis company STAT Communications, will likely export 400,000 MT during the 2003-04 marketing year, which runs from August to July. The FAO estimates world trade in lentils totalled 1.2 million MT in 2002, with Canada exporting 382,000 MT during the calendar year.
A famous variety of small green lentils known for their earthy flavor is grown in Le Puy, France. These "Le Puy lentils" were the first dry vegetable protected by the French AOC (Appelation d'Origine Controlée) designation.
The optical lens is so named after the lentil (Latin: lens), whose shape it resembles.
List of Lentils
- beluga lentil
- black chickpeas
- brown lentil
- French green lentils
- red lentil