Recipes: Lentils are so healthy, regional and diverse

Lentils are healthy, hearty and refined. And anyone who buys swab organic lenses actually does species protection on their plate.

What do Woldemar Mammel, Petra Kolip and Ali Güngörmüs have in common? Woldemar Mammel is an eco-pioneer in the Swabian Jura. Petra Kolip researches and teaches as a professor at the University of Bielefeld. And Ali Güngörmüs meets with delicious restaurants Munich and Berlin kitchen stars. And all three share their love for lentils.

Lentils are also very popular with athletes, vegetarians and vegans

Güngörmüs, which is in the countryside in the Turkey grew up with his own vegetable garden, raving about red slow soup: “When the night was long in Turkey, I used to eat the soup in the morning as a drunken breakfast. In many places in Istanbul you can get them at nine in the morning.” He refines his favorite soup with mint and vermouth.The recipe comes from the cookbook “My Turkish Cuisine”, in which Güngörmüs shows the diversity of the country’s cuisine.He is not the only top chef who has helped lentils enjoy a renaissance with more and more The legumes are sometimes even married to noble fish or crustaceans.

Petra Kolip, who likes to wear an apron in her spare time, collects 50 in her cookbook “Lust auf Linsen” (Cadmos-Verlag, 19.90 euros). recipes from all over the world, from rustic to sophisticated, and with all sorts of lenses. They differ not only in color and appearance, but also in taste.

Many do not even know that lentils are also grown in Germany

They are floury, concise, nutty. And red, yellow, black, brown, green and spotted. How nice, the eye eats too! The hot black belugas or caviar lentils have a firm consistency and are rated by top chefs for their particularly good taste. Like the Puy and Chateau lenses France, Castelluccio or Umbrian mountain ranges from Italy. Some lentils are soaked before cooking (also so they don’t swell), the red and yellow ones are already peeled, so they are ready to cook and soft quickly.

Lentils are also popular with athletes, vegetarians and vegans: “Lentils are real nutritional miracles. No other plant contains as much protein as these legumes. In combination with cereals or potatoes, vegetables, rice or pasta, its bioavailability increases. The high proportion of iron and their vitamin B content makes lentils an important ingredient in a complete nutritional plan, ”explains Petra Kolip. Delicious and healthy – this has an effect: Between 2013 and 2018, imports almost doubled to about 36,000 tons. Most come from abroad, from Canada and the United States, from Turkey and France.

Many do not even know that lentils are also grown in Germany. However, the amount is relatively small. Ecopionist Woldemar Mammel puts the crop on the Swabian Jura at about 150 tons a year. Assuming the weather cooperates. You could bring “much, much more” to the consumer, because the Alb-Leisa, as these lenses are called, are known and demanded far beyond national borders. Alb-Leisa can be found in well-stocked organic stores. Apparently, consumers are happy to pay a little more for it because the lentils are not carted away from the Alb and are free of insecticides and herbicides.

More than a hundred organic farmers grow three types of lentils

A wonderful success story. As of the 1950s, the Alb lenses had almost disappeared; cultivation has become unprofitable. If Woldemar Mammel was not active there. The biologist and farmer did everything to help the plant, which had been native to the Swabian Jura since the Neolithic, re-emerge.

He traveled to St. Petersburg in Russia to track seeds in the Vavilov seedbed, the oldest in the world. He carefully multiplied what he was allowed to carry with him until the fields could be reworked with it. The organic producer community Alb-Leisa, which his son Lutz now manages, has sprung up. More than a hundred organic farmers now grow three types of lentils in the Swabian Jura: dark green marble “French” lentils, as well as Späths Alblinse I “The Big One” and Späths Alblinse II “The Little One”.

Lentils are so healthy, regional and diverse

Old Augsburg recipes cooked – impressions from the kitchen

Photo: Silvio Wyszengrad

The team of Professor Sabine Gruber of the Institute of Harvest Science at the University of Hohenheim is working with the farmers of Alb Leisa to ensure that the success story continues. Lentils are not easily grown in this country due to the often humid summers.

The goal is high-yielding and resistant varieties with favorable protein composition and good digestibility to expand cultivation, including to northern Germany. New support plants are also being tested because native lentils need plant partners to climb. So far, this has mainly been barley and more recently camel. The three-year project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture. “The great thing about it is that we can directly see and taste the practical benefits of our work,” says Professor Gruber.

Her favorite is a slow salad with fresh and dried tomatoes, while Woldemar Mammel’s favorite dish is still lentils with spaetzle or steamed noodles. Lens maker Woldemar Mammel happily says: “You can find them in every canteen in our country, whether at Daimler, Liebherr or Ratiopharm.”

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