Red Lentils belong to the plant family Fabaceae. Red lentils are classified as Lens culinaris.

The Lentil is Popular around Europe and a regularly consumed food throughout the Middle East and India. The Red Lentil is often used as a substitute for meat. There are several varieties of lentils.

The red lentil has a history dating back to South West Asia and Syria. Evidence suggests the Lentil was cultivated and used as far back as 6,000BC.

In Ancient Greece, Lentils were used in soups and as an ingredient in bread. The use of lentils is mentioned in the book of Genesis (Chapter 25).

Lentils are considered an easily grown plant. They are an annual growing at around the same rate as peas. They are known to grow in a variety of conditions ranging from an infertile soil to deeply rich and free draining soils with lots of natural organic matter. Although they do prefer warmer conditions, they have been known to survive well in colder climates.

Commercially, Red Lentils are produced in large volume in countries where growers can access cheap labour, though there are Fair Trade varieties also available.

Red Lentils are a source of Protein and Carbohydrates. They are High in Calcium Iron and Phosphorous. Their high Protein content makes them an ideal substitute to meat for Vegans and Vegetarians.

Red Lentils are high in Vitamin A, B Group Vitamins, Vitamin C and E as well as Vitamin K. They are also rich in Minerals including, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc.

Red Lentils can be purchased from most supermarkets, they are usually in the same section as soup mixes or grains. Most stores will also have them available in Cans, which are ideal for use when pre-soaking is not an option.

Red Lentils can be used a several ways. They are a versatile addition to many dishes.

Red Lentils make an ideal thickener in soups and stews not only as a thickener but for their high nutrient content. Soups and stews are an ideal way maintaining nutrient content of vegetables as the dish is consumed liquid and all. When boiling or steaming food the nutrients are usually lost in the water when it is poured off.

Lentils can be cooked and used in warm salads or allowed to cool and blended with summer salads.

Red Lentils can be used as a base for vegetable cakes or fritters or used as a part replacement for bread crumbs in chicken stuffing.

Red Lentils are ideal in baby food for their nutrition and mild texture when moving to more solid foods. They can also be mashed to a fine potato like paste for younger babies.

Author's Bio: 

Eric J. Smith is an Experienced Horticulturalist with a keen interest in Organic Gardening. Eric's interest in Organics also shows in his interest in Organic Nutrition and Organic Skincare. More information can be found on these by visiting his websites... for Organic Health related products and information on living an Organic Lifestyle. for general health information and articles on living a Healthy Lifestyle.

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