Lentils, a biblical plant
Legumes are no longer really popular as a vegetable. Still, beans and lentils are crops of high nutritional value and a long history. The lentils, Lens esculenta, are certainly worth rediscovering. Both because of its high nutritional value, its ease of use and why not because of its venerable past.
In ancient times, lentils were already an important product in the Near East and in the countries around the Mediterranean. West Asia is mentioned as an area of origin. From there, this crop has spread in different directions. Large-seeded lentils (var. Macro sperm) were mainly found in countries around the Mediterranean, while small-seeded lentils (var. Microsperm) were found in the highlands of Afghanistan.
Lentils in the Bible
Historically, lentils are best known from the Bible, the story in which Essau simply sold his first birthright to Jacob for a plate of lentil soup. Once Jacob was cooking when Esau came home from the hunt, exhausted. Quick, give me some of that red you cook there, I’m exhausted, ?? Esau said to Jacob. Not until you sell me your birthright, Jacob answered. Man, I’m starving, said Esau, “what do I do with that birthright ??? Swear to me right now, Jacob said. Esau did so, and so he sold his birthright to Jacob. Was a plate of lentil soup worth that much?
Lentils in the garden
The fine crop is easy to cultivate, but is sensitive to wet weather and wet soil. The plants thrive best in calcareous, slightly sparse soil. Lentils are sown on site at the end of April or the beginning of May at a row distance of 15 to 20 cm. The seed quantity for small-seeded lentils is 6-9 and large-seeded 8-11 grams per m2. Lentils can also be sown widely, usually more seed is used per m2. Fertilization is hardly necessary. Most gardens naturally contain enough nutrients for proper lentil growth. And it is a leguminous plant that can bind nitrogen from the air itself and thus produces its own fertilizer.
The plants bloom in June and July with small white flowers. The short, flat pods usually contain 2 round, flat seeds. In August the lower snow peas start to turn brown. Then the straw with the snow peas is tied to bunches and hung under a shelter to dry. With larger quantities, lentils can also be ridden very well, like dry peas. The yield is 80 to 160 grams of seed per m2.
Lentils medicinal at Dodoens
In the CruydtBoeck by Dodoens from 1542, the lentils are mainly used externally as a paste or compress against gout and are placed on growths, on infected eyes and on the chest. For this, cooked lentils or lentil flour are used mixed with vinegar, honey, quince slime or sea water.
- Lentils with barley malt flour ghesoden devour the pain of that fledercijn there on gheleyt.
- Linsen flour mixes with huenich / suyvert that contaminated sweering and that meat does that in green.
- Lentils with ash gods / digest and sceyden all croppen / cliers and herde swells.
- Linsen with Mellilote / Queapples / and the oil of Roosen are mixed together to form those hot wants of the eye hen / and of that foundation. And when seawater becomes ghedaen there / so sijn sy oock goet until then four and the dyerghelijcke continue running ghebreak.
- Lentils in seawater or sout water ghesodes cause sceyds that gheklontert melck in the women’s breasts and consume that abundant melck that therein lays on those breasts.
The water in which the lentils were boiled is also recommended as a laxative ‘maeckt camerganck ende lost den buyck’, Dodoens writes.
Lentils in the kitchen
Nowadays lentils are no longer used as medicine, but in the kitchen it is becoming somewhat popular again. The small, flat-round legumes in the colors green to brown / black, are rich in protein and belong to the better legumes. Lentils do not need to be soaked before cooking. They have a fine peppery taste and can be combined well with all kinds of herbs such as thyme, basil, marjoram and spices such as bay leaf, cloves, nutmeg, etc. The combination not only ensures a good taste and better digestion but also allows us to benefit from the medicinal qualities of all those herbs. We also know small orange lentils from Eastern cuisine; these are mainly used in dishes such as dal (an Indian lentil dish). The cooking time is shorter than that of the other types.
The famous lentil soup
- 350 grams of small red lentils
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 small winter carrot, cut into small pieces
- 1 leek, cut into rings
- 1 liter of stock
- 1 teaspoon of cumin
- salt, black pepper
- juice of a lemon and olive oil
- garlic and a drizzle of cream also go well with lentil soup
Name of the plant
- lentil ?? English
- lentille ?? French
- lentillon ?? French
- Linse ?? German
- masur ?? Indonesian
- lentilha ?? Portuguese
- spring yes ?? Spanish