Certified Organic French Lentil
Season French lentils with aromatic herbs -- thyme, cloves, bay leaves, ginger-- at the start of the cooking process for the most delicious lentils. French Lentils do not need to be soaked before cooking, but it is a good idea to rinse them before cooking to remove any dirt or debris. Combine cooked French lentils with chopped shallots and a vinegar-based dressing for an excellent side dish, or throw them into a vegetable soup to complete the dish with some plant protein.
French Lentils as a Garden Plant
French lentils are grown as an annual crop in drier climates and in cool seasons. They are well suited for growing in the Mediterranean, Europe, the Pacific Northwest, and Asia. French lentils need loose, well-drained soil in order to thrive, make sure that they are not becoming oversaturated with water.
French lentils should be planted about 2-3 weeks before the last frost date for your region with a soil pH between 6.0 - 6.5. French lentils are happiest when they receive 6-8 hours per day of direct sunlight. When you are ready to harvest your lentils, around 80-110 days after planting, lay them out evenly to dry in the sun.
Although it is believed that lentils originated in Central and Southern Asia, lentils eventually found their way to Western Europe over 2,000 years ago. The French lentil, in particular, became a staple in southern French cuisine. French lentils that are grown in the Le Puy region are given the prestigious Protected Destination of Origin (PDO) in the EU.
French Lentils (Lens culinaris esculenta) take anywhere from 25-40 minutes to cook, depending on their freshness and the preferred texture. French lentils are about one-third of the size of the classic green lentil and are known for their earthy and peppery flavor. They maintain their texture and flavor particularly well, especially when compared to other varieties of lentil, many of which become very soft when cooked. French lentil seeds can also be used for sprouting. Consider making a delicious raw, sprouted lentil salad for your next meal.
French lentils are a nutritional powerhouse. They are high in protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates. Just one ¼ cup provides 13 grams of protein (second only to soybeans in the world of legumes) and 18 grams of fiber. Additionally, they are packed with iron, potassium and B vitamins. They have nominal amounts of fat.