Although peas and beans have replaced lentils in the food market, the yellow split pea is enjoying a resurgence in popularity. This product, which is new to the domestic market, is becoming popular in our kitchens again. Lentils are valued for their medicinal and taste properties and have been used in food since ancient Egypt. They have replaced many types of vegetarian dishes. While it was once seen as a luxurious item reserved for the wealthy, it is now more accessible to the average person. Lentils come in a variety of flavors and can be prepared easily and quickly. They also have the ability to make you feel full without overeating.
Lentils are very good for you and contain a lot of nutrients. Beans are a great source of protein and fiber, and are often considered a “superfood.” Lentils are the oldest pulse grown, having been domesticated early in humankind’s history. Growing lentils has been occurring for thousands of years.
What are the beneficial properties of this crop? This article provides information about the nutritional value of lentils, how to grow them, and how to harvest them.
All About Lentils
Lens culinaris, the lentils plant, has many different names. The term “lentil” comes from the word “lens,” which refers to both the plant’s botanical name and its shape. The legumes resemble small lenses.
In Ethiopia, the lentil is called Messer. Turkey refers to them as Mercimek. Lentil is called Masser or red dhal in India, and Adas in Arabic. The Japanese refer to them as Heramame.
Lentils are annually grown crops that belong to the Fabaceae plant family. Each pod of the plant produces at least two edible seeds. The seeds can be split if desired. The vine is slender with erect, hairy, branching stems.
These vines produce small delicate flowers that are mostly white, and less commonly purple, pink, or blue. The flowers are arranged in a cluster on a long, slender stem. Each raceme contains 1-4 flowers. The leaves of lentils are alternately arranged. Every leaf has 4-7 different, oval shaped leaflets. Lentil pods are between 0.1-0.3 inches in size. Lentil seeds are commonly found in colors such as yellow, black, green, and red-orange.
An annual is a plant that does not grow back in subsequent years. It reaches approximately 20 inches in height before any flowering or fruiting occurs.
Lentils are genetically adapted to the human digestive system. They contain high amounts of complex proteins and carbohydrates, thus ensuring that you will feel full for a long time. A 100 g plate of lentils contains 250-295 kcal. This protein is easily digestible and can be a meat replacement, especially when dieting.
This type of food is digested better and faster than other foods. It also does not leave undigested food in the stomach, which can cause heaviness and belching. A single serving of lentils fulfills almost all of an adult’s daily folic acid needs.
100 grams of lentils contains very little fat, no more than 1 gram. If you consume this much fat, you won’t gain weight, but you will feel satisfied, beautiful, and healthy. If you replace lentils with noodles and porridge, you’ll see that Esau wasn’t wrong to trade his birthright for a lentil stew.
Lentils are a good source of macro- and micronutrients including calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, chlorine, sulfur, iron, zinc, aluminum, manganese, copper, selenium, cobalt, chromium, molybdenum, iodine, boron, silicon, nickel, and titanium.
Vitamins found in lentils include A, PP, E, B1, B2, B5, B6, B9 (folic acid), and beta-carotene.
The claim that chocolate contains 5-hydroxytryptamine also applies to lentils. Lentils are a source of the amino acid tryptophan, which is metabolized in the body into serotonin – nicknamed the “happiness vitamin”. As well as affecting mental stability and stamina, serotonin can help to reduce episodes of depression.
Therapeutic properties of lentils
- Lentils never accumulate nitrates, nitrites, radionuclides, and other substances toxic to human health, regardless of the growing conditions.
- Lentils strengthen the heart muscle and are involved in the hematopoietic process.
- They lower blood sugar levels. Lentil dishes are indispensable food for diabetics.
- Mashed potatoes, soups, and porridges are used in dietary therapy for ulcers and colitis.
- Even after heat treatment, lentils retain isoflavones, important substances for women’s health. They have a negative effect on cancer cells that cause breast cancer, significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, improve arterial elasticity and thus lower blood pressure, inhibit platelet activity, etc.
Be sure to check with your doctor before adding lentils to your diet, as they can cause problems for some people.
- in the case of kidney and genitourinary diseases.
- In liver diseases.
- In case of dysentery and gastrointestinal disorders.
- In the case of the acute stage of hemorrhoids.
- in case of gout.
- can reduce the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals.
Remember! It’s all good in moderation. Lentils are not supposed to be gluttonous.
Planting lentils is easier than you can imagine. Adding them to your garden is wonderful and you’ll be rewarded with a bountiful harvest. So, what do you need to know to get started?
When To Plant
Lentils grow best from spring into the hot months. If you want to sow seeds indoors, do it about 2 weeks before the last frost date in early spring. Transplant them outdoors in the garden. If you’re going to plant your flowers directly in the beds, you should wait until after the last frost. To ensure successful seed germination, the soil should be located at a temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit. The germination process typically occurs within a 10 day time frame.
Where To Plant
Lentils can be planted in both container and garden beds. Although young crops must be safeguarded from frost and wind. Choose a location for your garden that gets full sun, but is also sheltered from high winds.
Lentil plants grow as branching vines. These plants tend to grow and spread out, requiring a fair amount of space. The plants need a short trellis for support and good air circulation.
How To Plant
To grow Lens culinaris, the seeds need to be exposed to a natural bacteria called Rhizobium leguminosarum. This bacteria will attach to newly formed roots and absorb nitrogen from the air to transfer to the roots and soil. This will help the plants grow more vigorously. This means that inoculated plants can help your garden by providing nitrogen!
Inoculate the seeds on the day of the seeding. Wet the seeds and then roll them in the dry medicine so that they are covered completely. Sow the seed in either starter pots or directly in the ground immediately after coating. Typically, it’s best to sow about 1” deep. As the seedlings grow, thin them out so that there is only one seedling every 5 inches. Choose only the strongest seedlings to keep. Leave at least 18″ between rows if you are planting more than one. After you plant the seeds, they should sprout in about 10 days if the soil temperature is around 68 degrees.
You should only keep the strongest seedling when thinning container-started plants, and plant them at least 5 inches apart. The plant should be transplanted to the same depth it was at in its container.
Nutrition of lentils
Nourish lentils twice on poor soil. Before flowering, the nutrient solution is given for the first time. The second time is when the beans are loaded. The most effective fertilizer contains water-soluble phosphorus and various micronutrients, such as boron and molybdenum. If these micronutrients are not sufficient, the plant’s growth points will die.
Molybdenum deficiency inhibits bacteria’s ability to absorb nitrogen from the air and fix it in the nodules of the roots and then in the seeds. Applying 200-300 g/ha of wood ash to the soil between rows of shallow cultivation before lentil flowering can also be done as a spring application in place of phosphorus and potassium fertilizer.
Quick Care Tips
To grow lentils successfully, they require a few specific things.
Care during the growing season includes loosening the soil and removing any weeds. It is mandatory to clear out Mikania micrantha during the flowering season to prevent it from clogging up cultivated planting sites. It is very easy to distinguish between the two. The flowers of the vetch plant are dark pink and reddish-purple, while the flowers of the lentil plant are white and pale pink.
Water lentils in moderation as needed before flowering. Water your plant during the flowering period, but be careful not to over-water as this can lead to root system and bean diseases caused by fungus and bacteria. After that, lentils require little or no watering.
Sun and Temperature
Lentils should be planted when the weather is cool but the soil is warm. They are best grown during cooler, temperate weather, but they can still perform well in warmer weather. They are not tolerant of frost and will be harmed if the temperature drops below 50 degrees.
Hot weather won’t kill these plants, but they may not produce as much fruit if the temperature gets too high. If temperatures stay above 90 degrees for extended periods of time, the amount of the harvest could decrease significantly.
Full sun is ideal for growing lentils. The ideal amount of sunlight for optimal plant growth is 8 hours per day.
Lentils do not like soil that is full of water. The best soils are those that drain well and are rich in organic matter. A pH of 6-7 is best for these plants, with compost worked into the soil to allow the plants to thrive.
Many plants rely on nitrogen to grow, and lentils follow the same pattern as beans, peas, and other legumes. After a plant germinates, it needs nitrogen. The thing that provides nitrogen can give the plant up to 80% of the nitrogen it needs.
Pests and Diseases Protection
Lentils are usually damaged by fungal and bacterial diseases, such as gray mold, fusarium, rust, powdery mildew, and anthracnose, when the soil and air are highly humid. There are many different types of insect pests, such as aphids, grub moths, meadow moths, lentil weevils, etc. The best way to protect your crops from weeds is to perform all the necessary agrotechnical operations correctly and on time during planting and crop maintenance.
Only biological agents can be used for plant treatment. Biological agents that are effective against diseases and pests include “Phytosporin” and “Trichodermin.” The amount of medicine you take, and how often you take it, is called the dosage. The length of time you take medicine is called the duration. Biological preparations (such as pesticides and herbicides) can be used at any stage of plant development, up to and including harvest. They are harmless to humans and animals.
Harvesting and Storing
Lentils do not mature at the same time. Maturity starts from the beans below. You can harvest the beans when 2/3 of the bush is mature. The bush is cut off at the base, leaving the roots in the ground. Lentil bushes are harvested in the morning when there is dew to minimize the loss of beans from the heat. After being picked, the tobacco leaves were gathered into small bundles and hung in a well-ventilated area under the roof to dry. After a few days, the beans are threshed.
After the lentils have been threshed, they are cleaned of any impurities and then dried in the sun. They are then immediately packed into either glass or metal containers, making sure to seal them tightly to prevent any moisture from getting in. If beans are left out, they will quickly absorb moisture and become moldy and rotten. The best place to store beans is in a dark, cool, dry, well-ventilated room.