Lentils Facts

Lentils Facts
Lentil is a type of grain legume (plant that belongs to the pea family) that originates from central Asia. This is one of the oldest cultivated crops. Lentils are integral part of human diet for 8000 years already. Lentils are largely cultivated in subtropical areas and in the Northern hemisphere. They can grow on various types of soil (clay, black cotton, loamy and alluvial soil), but they don't tolerate heavy rainfall and oscillation in temperatures. Lentils are prone to fungal diseases that may drastically reduce the yield. People cultivate lentils mainly as a source of food.
Interesting Lentils Facts:
Lentils grow as bushy, herbaceous plant that can reach 6 to 29 inches in height. Stem is multi-branched and covered with soft hairs.
Lentils develop green, pinnate leaves, composed of 4 to 7 leaflets. Leaves are alternately arranged on the branches.
Lentils produce small, white, purple, pink or blue flowers. One plant produces 10 to 150 raceme inflorescence (type of unbranched inflorescence) composed of 1 to 4 individual flowers. Flowers appear 6 to 7 weeks after planting.
Fruit of lentils is smooth, oblong pod that contains one or two seed.
Lentils produce round-shaped seed. Color of the seed depends on the variety. The most popular types of lentils are yellow, orange, green, brown and black.
Lentils propagate via seed. Harvest takes place 80 to 135 days after planting, depending on the variety.
Lentils are excellent source of dietary fibers and proteins. They are also rich source of vitamins B9, B1, B5 and B6 and minerals such as phosphorus, iron and zinc.
Due to high protein content, lentils are especially popular in the West Asia and India where great percent of people doesn't consume meat (another important source of protein).
Lentils are mainly consumed in the form of soups, salads and stews. Rice and lentils are often combined due to equal cooking time. This combination can be found in most cuisines around the world. Stew made of yellow lentil is one of the first types of solid foods that is offered to babies in Ethiopia.
Sprouted lentils can be seen in the temples across India due to common practice of Indians to offer this plant to god during the praying rituals.
Lentils are used in treatment of intestinal disorders, constipation, ulcers and slow-healing sores in India.
Lentils were integral part of diet in the monasteries during the 6th century due to widespread belief that lentils diminish sexual desire.
Optical lenses were named after Latin name of lentil ("lens" in Latin) due to similarities in shape.
Canada is the greatest manufacturer of lentils in the world. It produces 1.5 million metric tons per year.
Lentil is an annual plant, which means that it completes its life cycle in one year.

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