Masoor Dal

Botanical Name : Lens Culinaris/Red Lentil
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Tribe: Vicieae
Genus: Lens
Species: L. culinaris
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

Synonyms: Lens esculenta. Moench.

Common Name : Masoor  Dal  Masur Dal

Habitat :
Red Lentil (Lens culinaris L.) was first grown in southwest Asia about 7,000 BCE in the area that is now southern Turkey and northern Syria. It is best adapted to the cooler temperate zones of the world, or the winter season in Mediterranean climates.

The two main lentil market classes are red and green. Red lentil is marketed as whole seed, but 90-95 per cent of red lentil is dehulled before it is eaten. Dehulled lentil is consumed in whole form (footballs) or in split form.
Description:
Lens culinaris is an annual plant growing to typically short, compared to cereal crops, ranging from 20 – 65 cm (8 – 26 inches) in height depending on variety and growing conditions.
The leaves are alternate, with six pairs of oblong-linear leaflets about 15 mm (0.5 inch) long and ending in a spine. Two to four pale blue flowers are borne in the axils of the leaves in June or early July. The pods are about 15–20 mm long, broadly oblong, and slightly inflated and contain two seeds the shape of a doubly convex lens and about 4–6 mm in diameter. There are many cultivated varieties of the plant, differing in size, hairiness, and colour of the leaves, flowers, and seeds. The seeds may be more or less compressed in shape, and the colour may vary from yellow or gray to dark brown; they are also sometimes mottled or speckled.

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Because most red lentil is dehulled before consumption, the suitability of new red lentil varieties for secondary processing such as dehulling and splitting is of utmost importance. Dehulling and splitting yields in some processing plants are higher for more thick seeds which may be more desired for specific markets.
Cultivation:
An easily grown plant, it prefers a sandy soil in a warm sunny sheltered position. Another report says that it does best on clay. It produces most seed when grown on poorer soils. Lentils are widely cultivated in warm temperate and tropical zones for their edible and very nutritious seed, there are many named varieties. The plants are much hardier than is commonly supposed and many of these varieties can succeed in Britain, particularly in warm summers. There is at least one, called ‘WH2040’, that can withstand temperatures as low as -23°c in the seedling stage. ‘Chilean’ is a low-growing plant that can be grown in the winter in areas where winter vegetables can be grown. ‘HarLen’ tolerates temperatures down to -10°c and performs very well in gardens. The plants take the same time as peas to mature, so lentils are a potential commercial crop for Britain. Yields of up to 2 tonnes per hectare are possible. The main problem with growing them as a commercial crop is that they are produced by using cheap labour in many countries which makes it very difficult for British farmers to compete on prices. However, this does not preclude their being grown in the garden and allotment. Lentils are also beneficial to grow as part of a rotation on the farm or garden. They have a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby and, if the roots are left in the ground when the seeds are harvested, this will provide a source of nitrogen for the next crop.

Propagation :
Seed – sow early April in situ. Some cultivars are probably suitable for sowing outdoors in the autumn, at least in the milder parts of the country

Edible Uses: Dehulled lentil is most commonly eaten as soup in the Mediterranean region or as dhal – a thick sauce in which spices are used as flavouring – in south Asia. It is an important source of dietary protein and carbohydrate.
Seed – cooked or sprouted and eaten raw. A very nutritious food, the seeds can be cooked on their own or added to soups, stews etc. The seed can be soaked for 12 hours in warm water and then allowed to sprout for about 5 days. They have a crunchy, fresh flavour. Lentils are more digestible than many legumes. The dried seed can also be ground into a powder and used with cereal flours in making bread etc, this greatly enhances the value of the protein in the bread. The seed stores better if it is left in its husk. Young seedpods – used fresh or cooked like green beans[

Whole Red Lentils Nutritional Information Per 100 g dry
Amount……………………………… % Daily Value
Fat………………………….. 1.0 g………………..2 %
Carbohydrates…….59.1 g……………..20%
Total Fibre………… 14.2 g…………………..57%
Insoluble Fibre… 12.4 g
Soluble Fibre……… 1.81 g
Sucrose……………….. 1.79 g
Protein……………….28.4 g
Calcium……………. 97.3 mg………………10%
Iron…………………….. 7.3 mg………………41%
Potassium….. 1,135 mg………………….32%
Vitamin C…………. 0.73 mg……………….1%
Thiamin……………. 0.34 mg…………….23%
Riboflavin………… 0.31 mg………………18%
Niacin……………….. 1.73 mg………………..9%
Vitamin B6……… 0.28 mg………………14%
Folate…….. 186 mcg…………………………47%

Medicinal Uses :     The seeds are mucilaginous and laxative. They are considered to be useful in the treatment of constipation and other intestinal affections. Made into a paste, they are a useful cleansing application in foul and indolent ulcers.
Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lentil
http://www.miltopexports.com/red_lentils.htm
http://www.agriculture.gov.sk.ca/Default.aspx?DN=a88f57f0-242b-40f6-8755-1fc6df4dfa14

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