Lentils have a lot to offer because they are so diverse. We introduce you to the best and most popular types and types of Lentils. As an ancient cultivated plant, the lentil ( Lens culinaris ) was grown in every imaginable direction. The result is countless varieties that are often only grown in small regions. Unfortunately, many of the regional varieties have been lost today. While the seeds of around 3000 different types of lentils are still stored in what is probably the largest gene database in the world, only around 80 varieties are grown worldwide. However, significantly fewer types of lentils are available in German-speaking countries.
Types and varieties of Lentils
Among the Lentils (Lens) includes six different types. Two of them, Lens nigrans and Lens Orientalis, are considered to be the ancestors of the kitchen lens ( Lens culinaris ). It is the only type of lens in the lens genre that is actually used. A rough classification of the types of lentils can be made on the basis of the seed size, which varies between three and over seven millimeters. Another way of grouping types of lentils is to classify them based on their color, which can be classic brown or green, as well as black or purple.
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The lentils of the Alb Leisa include three different regional varieties from the Swabian Alb. Because where lentils and spaetzle are the national dishes, lentil cultivation has a long tradition. Unfortunately, the regional varieties of the Alb were no longer cultivated from 1966 and were almost lost. In 2006 a Swabian farmer finally rediscovered them in the Russian gene database for crops. Today three varieties are grown again: The two light green varieties ‘Spaths Alblinse 1’ and ‘Spaths Alblinse 2’ as well as a dark green marbled, small-seeded lentil variety.
Plate lentils are probably the best-known among the Lentils in German-speaking countries. This brownish-yellow variety is relatively large. When cooked, the lentils become soft and floury without disintegrating. They are not only ideal for rustic dishes such as lentil stew, but also for delicious lentil spreads or casseroles.
This noble type of lentil with its small black seeds is characterized above all by its fine taste. The lentils stay firm and crisp even when cooked and are the best basis for a tasty lentil salad. Their origins are believed to be in North America, where they are still widely grown today.
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These dark blue marbled lentils are aromatic. The peel of the small seeds is thin, but the inside remains quite firm when cooked. The berry lentils come from the heart of France – this origin is even geographically protected. Berry lentils that are grown in a different region can no longer be called berry lentils, even if they are of the same variety.
Since these green lentils have a very nutty aroma, they taste delicious in a salad. Their blue-green marbling makes them twice as attractive. The lentils come from a small region in central France, where they have been cultivated for over 1000 years. Because the name Puy lentils are geographically protected, they are sold as green lentils when grown in other regions.
Mountain lentils are actually not a real variety. They are more of a group of different Lentils from various mountainous regions. That makes them very inconsistent. The only thing they have in common is that they are all cultivated above 700 m above sea level.
Yellow and red lentils are not really lentils in their own right. Basically, these are just peeled brown lentils, such as various mountain lentils. The difference between red and yellow Lentils is not the color of the skin around the lens, but the color of the core. The classification of the lenses is made more complicated by protected geographical information. Puy lentils and Berry lentils, for example, also thrive outside the Puy and Berry regions, but can then no longer be referred to as Puy or Berry lentils, even though the variety is the same.
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