With healthy eating bigger now than it’s ever been, there’s never been a better time to take a look at one of the staple ingredients of a healthy, balanced diet. Not sure where to look? Take a look below for 15 awesome and interesting facts about lentils.
1. Lentils don’t just taste great — they’ve been enjoyed by our ancestors all the way back to Neolithic times.
2. As well as being one of the oldest domesticated crops on record, they’re also the oldest pulse crop scientists have ever found.
3. For many years lentils were nicknamed “poor man’s meat.”
4. But they had something of a resurgence when King Louis XV’s wife, Marie Leszczynska, made them fashionable among nobility and nicknamed them “the queen’s lentils.”
5. Lentils are eaten widely throughout India where they are known as daal.
6. There are a huge variety of different types, including: brown, yellow, black, orange, red and green.
7. Of all of these, brown is the most commonly eaten variety.
8. They have an incredible shelf life with lentils having been found in Egyptian tombs that date from 2400 BC!
9. In the U.S. green lentils are the most popular because of their shape.
10. The lentil is an example of an edible legume.
11. Scientists have found 8000-year old lentil seeds throughout the Middle East.
12. Jewish people consider lentils to be the food of mourners as their round shape is taken to symbolise the circle of life, death, and constant renewal.
13. Writing in the time of the Ancient Greeks, the playwright Aristophanes referred to lentil soup as the “sweetest of all delicacies”.
14. You don’t need to soak them prior to cooking — unlike many other similar foodstuffs.
15. Lentils gained something of a cult following thanks to the 1980s British sitcom “The Young Ones” in which Neil the hippie was constantly seen cooking and eating them.