Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Loving Lentils

I will tell you right now that I love Lentils. As a matter of fact there are 13 varieties of lentils that are available and are adored in India the same as we adore a hamburger. Lentils go with just about anything or just plain. They have high fiber, protein and vitamins. We have been using lentils pretty regularly here at Rice University as a supplement to other grains, beans and pastas for quite some time. They are well received by our students.

So… Did you know that 78% of all the lentils grown in the US are exported? That it is a cash crop worth 87 million annually? The reason is that we do not use them much compared with other countries; hence the high export ratio. I read an interesting development today by researchers in Washington State that developed the 14th variety of lentil that was just approved for market. The Essex was developed by a plant geneticist to improve crop sustainability and increase harvest amounts. I find it very interesting that we dedicate our time to develop a better product just to export it. Come on people, go buy some lentils and make a quick and easy stew. These little gems will put a smile on yours and your kid’s faces.

With all the market driven forces to bestow more whole grain and multi-grain pastas to our clientele, I say give them more lentils instead of pasta whenever you can. Grains are becoming more popular than I have seen in a decade with the likes of quinoa as well as barleys. I implore more universities to start easing up on the pasta and try something a little different. Have fun with the lentil.


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