Lentils are usually sown in the field as a legume crop. However, it can also be grown as a vegetable plant, that is, not until full ripeness. Unripe seeds are even tastier.
In terms of taste and nutritional value, lentils occupy one of the first places among leguminous crops, they cook faster and better than all legumes, and have a more pleasant and subtle taste.
Its seeds contain up to 36% protein, up to 2% fat, up to 60% nitrogen-free substances, 2.5-4.5% ash, 2.5-4.9% fibre. In terms of protein content and seed digestibility, lentils are superior to peas, chickpeas, chickpeas and beans. It is also a good source of B vitamins.
Lentil protein, which contains vital amino acids, is well absorbed by the body. The energy value of 100 g of seeds is 310 kcal.
It is used to prepare a variety of table dishes: salad, soup, porridge, puree, pate and jelly. (Because they cook quickly, lentils are usually not soaked before cooking.)
Cereals and flour are no less important. Lentil grains are more nutritious than whole seeds. This is due to the fact that during processing the seed coats are removed. Flour is most widely used in the baking industry, especially in the manufacture of biscuits; adding it to wheat in an amount of 15-20% increases the protein content in bread by 3-4%. Lentil flour is also used in the confectionery and gastronomic industries in the production of coffee, cocoa, sweets, cookies, chocolate, and sausages.
Like other leguminous crops, lentils improve gardening by fixing nitrogen from the air.
Predecessors. The best predecessors of lentils are winter grain crops and row crops (potatoes, corn). An important condition for obtaining high yields is to sow lentils in weed-free fields. Lentils, like other legumes, enrich the soil with nitrogen and are a good precursor for all subsequent crops.
Fertilizer. Organic fertilizers are not applied directly to lentils, since in this case they develop a large green mass and reduce the grain yield. It is placed as the second or third crop after the application of organic fertilizers. The approximate norms of mineral fertilizers are as follows: furnace ash 30-50 g/m2, phosphate rock 30-50 g/m2 or superphosphate 20-30 g/m2, potassium salt 10-15 g/m2. They are applied in the fall when digging the soil, or in the spring for cultivation or harrowing. Nitrogen fertilizers can be effective only in the initial period of lentil development, until nodules form in sufficient quantities on the roots. They are applied in the spring (10 g/m2 of ammonium nitrate). Acidic soils should be limed.
Sowing. Lentils are sown when the soil temperature at the seeding depth (4-6 cm) reaches +5+6 °C, i.e. in the very first days of spring sowing. Early sowing of lentils produces larger yields and better resistance to diseases and pests. Sow in rows (row spacing 10-15 cm); the seeding rate for large-seeded varieties is 13-17 g/m2 (250-270 seeds), for small-seeded varieties 7-10 g/m2 (270-320 seeds). The embedding depth is 3-5 cm. On light soils and when they dry out, they can be embedded deeper, and on heavier and denser soils - shallower. After sowing, the soil is rolled, which helps to obtain uniform shoots.
Plant care. To destroy weeds, lentils are harrowed after emergence, but always at midday, when the plants are not as fragile as in the morning. Further care consists of weeding, and in dry conditions, also watering. When weeding crops, the plants of flat-seeded vetch, whose seeds are similar to lentil seeds, are removed.
Harvesting. The beans ripen unevenly - first the lower ones, and then the upper ones. Maturation is especially prolonged in wet years. Therefore, lentil harvesting begins when the beans ripen in the lower and middle parts of the plant, which avoids the loss of the most valuable seeds, since when the beans are left standing, the beans crack and the seeds spill out. The seeds of the upper (still green) beans ripen in windrows. Grain is eaten not only when fully ripe, but also when unripe; it is considered even tastier.
Bot. syn.: Vicia lens L.
* Lentils have one very valuable property: they do not accumulate any harmful or toxic elements (nitrates, radionuclides, etc.).
Thanks to this, lentils grown anywhere in the world can be considered an environmentally friendly product.
You can make soup, porridge, and side dishes from lentils. Dark green beans are considered to have the best flavour and soften more quickly when cooked than others. It is recommended to soak the lentils in cold water before cooking.
1 cup lentils, 5 tablespoons vegetable oil, 1 onion, 1 carrot, 1/4 small celery root, 2 tomatoes (fresh or canned), 1 tablespoon each flour and tomato paste, 1 head garlic, 1 sprig savory, 1/4 bunch of parsley, ground red pepper, vinegar and salt.
Sort the lentils and rinse thoroughly, place in a saucepan with cold water and cook over moderate heat. After 30 minutes, add half the prescribed amount of vegetable oil, diced pre-peeled carrots and celery, disassembled and peeled garlic, savory and salt.
After 10-15 minutes, add finely chopped tomatoes. In the remaining fat, simmer the peeled, washed and finely chopped onion. With continuous stirring, add flour diluted in a small amount of water, tomato and pepper. Pour the dressing into the soup and cook for another 10 minutes. When serving, sprinkle with finely chopped parsley and add vinegar if desired.
1 cup lentils, 1 onion and 2 tablespoons oil. Sort the lentils, rinse and cook over low heat. Drain the remaining water, salt the lentils, stir, mince or rub through a sieve. Then add finely chopped and fried onion in oil and mix well again.
Lentils with butter, tomato and onion.
Sort the lentils, rinse well and pour 2 cups of cold water for 3-4 hours. Drain the water, pour fresh water over the lentils and cook until soft. Drain the remaining water and season the lentils with oil. Lentils can also be seasoned with fried onions. To do this, finely chop 1 medium-sized onion and fry with a little oil. Place the rest of the oil directly into the lentils.
Lentils in tomatoes and onions are prepared in the same way, only you need to add 3-4 tablespoons of tomato puree to the fried onions and let it boil.
Lentils in sour cream with onions are prepared in the same way as with onions alone: add 1 cup of sour cream to the fried onions and let it boil. For 1 cup of grain - 2 tablespoons of oil.