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Lentil (Dal)
File:3 types of
Lentils
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Tribe: Vicieae
Genus: Lens
Species: L. culinaris
Binomial name
Lens culinaris
Medikus

The lentil or daal or dal (Lens culinaris), considered a type of pulse, is a bushy annual plant of the legume family, grown for its lens-shaped seeds. It is about 15 inches (38 cm) tall and the seeds grow in pods, usually with two seeds in each.

Contents

Background

The plant originated in the Near East, and has been part of the human diet since the aceramic (non-pottery producing) Neolithic times, being one of the first crops domesticated in the Near East. With 26% protein, lentils have the third-highest level of protein, by weight, of any plant-based food after soybeans and hemp, and is an important part of the diet in many parts of the world, especially in the Indian subcontinent which has large vegetarian populations.

A variety of lentils exists with colors that range from yellow to red-orange to green, brown and black. Red, white and yellow lentils are decorticated, i.e., they have their skins removed. There are large and small varieties of many lentils (e.g., Masoor Lentils). Lentils are sold in many forms, with or without the skins, whole or split.

Culturally, other pulses are sometimes called lentils but are actually beans or peas, e.g. "black lentils" (urad beans)

Types of Lentils

File:Illustration Lens
Illustration of the lentil plant, 1885
File:Lentils red and
Red and brown comparison
  • Brown/Spanish Pardina
  • French Green/Puy (Dark speckled blue-green)
  • Green
  • Black/Beluga
  • Yellow/Tan Lentils (Red inside)
    • Red Chief (Decorticated yellow lentils)
  • Eston Green (Small green)
  • Richlea (Medium green)
  • Laird (Large green)
  • Petite Golden (Decorticated lentils)
  • Masoor (Brown-skinned lentils which are red inside)
    • Petite Crimson/Red (Decorticated masoor lentils)
  • Macachiados (Big Mexican yellow lentils)

Preparation

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 and South America, sometimes combined with some form of chicken or pork. They are frequently combined with rice, which has a similar cooking time. A lentil and rice dish is referred to in the Middle East as mujaddara or mejadra. Rice and lentils are also cooked together in khichdi, a popular Indian dish. Lentils are used throughout India, the Mediterranean regions and the Middle East. In rare cases the lentils are mixed with dairy cheese.

A large percentage of Indians are vegetarian and lentils have long been part of the indigenous diet as a common source of protein. Usually, lentils are boiled to a stew-like consistency with vegetables and then seasoned with a mixture of spices to make many side dishes such as sambar, rasam and dal, which are usually served over rice and roti.

When lentils are prepared, they are first inspected for damaged lentils, stones and other foreign matter. Then they are rinsed until the water runs through and comes out clear. Some prefer to soak the lentils for an extended time and discard the water. This removes substances that may cause indigestion.[dubious ] The lentils are then boiled in water or broth. They may be cooked on the stovetop, or in a slow cooker. Pressure cookers are not recommended, since the small lentils may clog the pressure relief valve, and their quick cooking time means there is little benefit from pressure cooking. Cooked lentils often require thinning: adding more hot water or broth to the cooked legumes until the desired final consistency is reached.

Nutritional value and health benefits

Lentils, raw (Dry Weight)
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 350 kcal   1480 kJ
Carbohydrates     60 g
- Sugars  2 g
- Dietary fiber  31 g  
Fat 1 g
Protein 26 g
Thiamine (Vit. B1)  0.87 mg   67%
Iron  7.5 mg 60%
Percentages are relative to US
recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient database

Lentils contain high levels of proteins, including the essential amino acids isoleucine and lysine, and are an essential source of inexpensive protein in many parts of the world for those who adhere to a vegetarian diet or cannot afford meat.[1] Lentils are deficient in two essential amino acids, methionine and cystine.[2] However, sprouted lentils contain sufficient levels of all essential amino acids, including methionine and cystine.[3]

Apart from a high level of proteins, lentils also contain dietary fiber, Folate, vitamin B1, and minerals. Red (or pink) lentils contain a lower concentration of fiber than green lentils (11% rather than 31%).[4] Health magazine has selected lentils as one of the five healthiest foods.[5] Lentils are often mixed with grains, such as rice, which results in a complete protein dish.

Iron content

Lentils are one of the best vegetable sources of iron. This makes them an important part of a vegetarian diet, and useful for preventing iron deficiency. Iron is particularly important for adolescents and pregnant women, whose requirements for it are increased.[6]

Production

[[File:|250px|thumb|Lentil output in 2005]] Lentils are relatively tolerant to drought and are grown throughout the world. About half of the worldwide production of lentils is from India, most of which is consumed in the domestic market. Canada is the largest export producer of lentils in the world and Saskatchewan is the most important producing region in Canada. The Palouse Region of Eastern Washington and the Idaho Panhandle, with its commercial center at Pullman, WA, constitutes the most important producing region in the United States.[7]

FAO reports that world production of lentils for calendar year 2007 is 3.874 million metric tonnes, primarily coming from India(36%), Canada(17%) and Turkey(15%). National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) reports United States 2007 production at 154.5 thousand metric tonnes, primarily coming from North Dakota, Montana, Washington, and Idaho.

Top Ten Lentils Producers – 2007
Country Production (tonnes) Footnote
Template:Country data India 1,400,000 *
 Canada 669,700
 Turkey 580,260
File:Flag of the People' People's Republic of China 180,000 F
 Syria 165,000 F
 Nepal 164,694
 United States 154,584
 Australia 131,000
 Bangladesh 119,000 F
Template:Country data Iran 115,000 F
 World 3,873,801 A
No symbol = official figure, P = official figure, F = FAO estimate, * = Unofficial/Semi-official/mirror data, C = Calculated figure A = Aggregate(may include official, semi-official or estimates);

Source: Food And Agricultural Organization of United Nations: Economic And Social Department: The Statistical Devision

Current United States production numbers can be found at the NASS database here by selecting the desired items.

Diseases

Lentils in culture

Lentils are mentioned many times in the Old Testament, the first time recounting the incident in which Jacob purchases the birthright from Esau with stewed lentils {Genesis 25:34}.[8]

In Jewish mourning tradition, they are considered as food for mourners, together with boiled eggs. The reason is that their round shape symbolizes the life cycle from birth to death.

Lentils are also mentioned in "The Young Ones", as Neil the Hippy's favorite food.

Lentils and lenses

File:Salade lentilles
Brown lentils being mixed for a salad
File:Brown
Raw brown lentils

The optical lens is named after the lentil (Latin: lens), whose shape it resembles.[9] This same connection appears in many other languages:

Language lens lentil
Arabicadasadas
Afrikaanslenslensie
AlbanianThjerrëz (bot.)Thjerrëza
Armenianapakivosp
Bengalidaaldaal
BotswanaChadiAditi Chaddi
Bulgarianлещалеща
Catalanlentllentia
Croatianlećaleća
Czechčočkačočka
Danishlinselinse
DariDaalDaal
Dutchlenslinzen
Esperantolenzolento
Estonianläätsedläätsed
Finnishlinssilinssi
Frenchlentillelentille
GermanLinseLinse
Greekφακόςφακή
Hebrewadasha (pl. adashot)adasha (pl. adashim)
Hindidhaldhal
Hungarianlencselencse
Icelandiclinsalinsubaun
Italianlentelenticchia
KurdishNisikNisk
KannadaBayleaThogare Baylea
KapampanganMalobiasMalobias
Latinlenslens
Latvianlēcalēca
Lithuanianlęšislęšis
Macedonianлеќалеќа
MalayalamParippuThvara Parippu
MarathiDaalDaal
NepaliDaalDaal
Norwegianlinselinse
Persianadasiadas
Polishsoczewkasoczewica
Portugueselentelentilha
Romanianlentilalinte
Serbiansočivosočivo
Slovenelečaleča
Slovakšošovkašošovica
Spanishlentelenteja
Swahilijichoicho
Swedishlinslins
TeluguPappuPappu
TamilParuppuThuvaram Paruppu
Turkishmercekmercimek
Urdudaaldaal
VietnameseLăng kínhĐậu Lăng

See also

References

Footnotes
  1. ^ http://www.glisonline.com/aminoacids.php
  2. ^ http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/alt-ag/lentil.htm
  3. ^ http://www.bitterpoison.com/protein/11248
  4. ^ USDA nutrient database
  5. ^ Raymond, Joan (March 2006). "World's Healthiest Foods: Lentils (India)". Health Magazine. http://www.health.com/health/article/0,23414,1149140,00.html. 
  6. ^ Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI), Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine, National Academies, 2004 
  7. ^ Crop Profile for Lentils in Idaho, Department of Plant, Soil and Entomological Science, University of Idaho (web site), 2000 
  8. ^ http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0125.htm
  9. ^ Chambers Dictionary (10th ed) 2006

Further reading

  • S S Yadav et al. Lentil: An Ancient Crop for Modern Times. (2007). Springer Verlag. ISBN 9781402063121.

External links


Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

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Wikipedia

Contents

English

Lens culirnaris.jpg

Pronunciation

Etymology

From Old French lentille.

Noun

Singular
lentil

Plural
lentils

lentil (plural lentils)

  1. Any of several plants of the genus Lens, especially Lens culinaris, from southwest Asia, that have edible, lens-shaped seeds within flattened pods.
  2. The seed of these plants, used as food.

Translations

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

Anagrams


Simple English

Lentil
File:3 types of
Lentils
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Tribe: Vicieae
Genus: Lens
Species: L. culinaris
Binomial name
Lens culinaris
Medikus

The lentil or daal or pulse (Lens culinaris) is a bushy annual plant of the legume family. It is a kind of vegetable, grown for its lens-shaped seeds. It is about 15 inches tall and the seeds grow in pods, usually with two seeds in each.

Contents

Background

The plant originated in the Middle East and was one of the first crops domesticated in the world. Humans started eating lentils before they invented ceramics.

Consisting of 26% protein, lentils have the highest level of protein of any plant after soybeans and hemp. Because of this fact, and due to their high iron content, lentils are a very important part of the diet in many parts of the world, especially in India, which has a large vegetarian population.

Different kinds of lentils exist, including a variety of large and small lentils. Lentils come in colors that range from yellow to red-orange to green, brown and black.

Lentils are sold in many forms, with or without the skins, whole or split. Red, white and yellow lentils are decorticated, i.e., they have their skins removed.

One variety of yellow "lentils", Chana, is in fact not a lentil, but are actually made from the kernels of chickpeas. Split Pigeon peas (either green or yellow) - that are actually considered pulses, which include peas and beans - are also sometimes erroneously referred to and sold as lentils. The urad bean is also referred to as a "black lentil".

Types

File:Illustration Lens
Illustration of the lentil plant, 1885
  • Brown/Spanish Pardina
  • French Green/Puy (Dark speckled blue-green)
  • Green (Most common variety)
  • Black/Beluga
  • Yellow/Tan Lentils (Red inside)
  • Red Chief (Decorticated yellow lentils)
  • Eston Green (Small green)
  • Richlea (Medium green)
  • Laird (Large green)
  • Petite Golden (Decorticated lentils)
  • Masoor (Brown-skinned lentils which are red inside)
  • Pigeon Peas
  • Channa Dal
  • Mung Lentils
  • Petite Crimson/Red (Decorticated masoor lentils)
  • Chana (Kernel of chickpeas)
  • Urad (A type of bean)
  • White/Ivory (Peeled Urad beans)
  • Macachiados (Big Mexican yellow lentils)

Preparation

The seeds only need very little cooking. This time is especially short for kinds of lentils with their husk removed, such as the common red lentil). Lentils have a distinctive earthy flavor. They can be used to prepare an inexpensive and nutritious soup all over Europe and North and South America. Sometimes they are combined with some form of chicken or pork. They are frequently combined with rice, which has a similar cooking time. In the Middle East such a dish of lentils and rice is called mujaddara or mejadra. Rice and lentils are also cooked together in khichdi, a popular Indian dish. Lentils are used throughout India, the Mediterranean regions and the Middle East. In rare cases the lentils are mixed with dairy cheese.

Many people in India are vegetarian and lentils have long been part of the indigenous diet as a common source of protein. Usually, lentils are boiled to a stew-like consistency with vegetables and then seasoned with a mixture of spices to make many side dishes such as sambar, rasam and dal, which are usually served over rice and roti.

When lentils are prepared, they are first inspected for damaged lentils, stones and other foreign matter. Then they are rinsed until the water runs through and comes out clear. Some prefer to soak the lentils for an longer time and discard the water. This removes substances that may cause indigestion. The lentils are then boiled in water or broth. They may be cooked on the stovetop, or in a slow cooker. Pressure cookers are not recommended, since the small lentils may clog the pressure relief valve, and their quick cooking time means there is little benefit from pressure cooking. Cooked lentils often require thinning: adding more hot water or broth to the cooked legumes until the desired final consistency is reached.

Nutritional value and health benefits

Apart from a high level of proteins, lentils also contain dietary fiber, vitamin B1, and minerals. Red (or pink) lentils contain a lower concentration of fiber than green lentils (11% rather than 31%).[1] Health magazine has selected lentils as one of the five healthiest foods.[2] Lentils are often mixed with grains, such as rice, which results in a complete protein dish.

Iron content

In addition to providing slow-burning complex carbohydrates, lentils are one of the best vegetable sources of iron. This makes them an important part of a vegetarian diet, and useful for preventing iron deficiency. Iron is particularly important for adolescents, and menstruating or pregnant women, whose requirements for it are increased.[3]

Production

Lentils are relatively tolerant to drought and are grown throughout the world. About half of the worldwide production of lentils is from India, most of which is consumed in the domestic market. Canada is the largest export producer of lentils in the world and Saskatchewan is the most important producing region in Canada. The Palouse Region of Eastern Washington and the Idaho Panhandle, with its commercial center at Moscow, Idaho, constitutes the most important producing region in the United States.[4] 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.

Lentils in Culture

Lentils are mentioned many times in the Old Testament. In Jewish tradition they are considered as food for mourners, together with boiled eggs. The reason is that their round shape symbolizes the life cycle from birth to death.

References

  1. USDA nutrient database
  2. Raymond, Joan (March 2006). "World's Healthiest Foods: Lentils (India)". Health Magazine. http://www.health.com/health/article/0,23414,1149140,00.html. 
  3. [Expression error: Unexpected < operator Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI)], Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine, National Academies, 2004 
  4. [Expression error: Unexpected < operator Crop Profile for Lentils in Idaho], Department of Plant, Soil and Entomological Science, University of Idaho (web site), 2000 

Further reading

Other websites

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