Lentils are little legumes densely packed with nourishment and make for an excellent mainstay in a nutritious diet. Cooking dried lentils is so quick and simple that many people opt to avoid soaking and instead cook and prepare them in various soups, stews, and other recipes without soaking them first.
Whenever we eat beans or legumes, we have flatulence and stomach problems. As seeds, nature has provided them with several defenses that support eating life and allow a new generation to germinate and flourish.
We usually cook lentils by boiling them; however, have you ever heard of the term “fermenting lentils”? Yes, you very certainly can. Fermenting lentils brings out a completely new flavor and nutritional value dimension. Let’s get down to the details.
Reasons lentils should be fermented
Lentils contain a high concentration of complex carbohydrates, fibers, and enzymes, making them particularly challenging to digest. Although they are packed with protein and vitamins, the body has a tough time absorbing these nutrients.
The majority of traditional lentil preparation methods are designed to increase the digestibility of lentils so that we can absorb more of their nutrients. Soaking, grinding, and heating are all methods of making them more convenient to consume while increasing their nutritional value. On the other hand, Lentils have been fermented for hundreds of years.
It is not only more digestible and delicious when lentils are fermented, but it also adds vital probiotics and beneficial chemicals, making lentils even more nutritious than they were, to begin with.
|Reasons for fermenting lentils||How it helps||Essential products|
|To improve digestibility||Allows the body access to natural nourishment||Check these lentils from Amazon|
|Reduce anti-nutrients||It makes it difficult to absorb nutrients|
|Improve flavor||Reduces digestibility||Red lentils|
|Add probiotics||Supports the digestive system|
1. They improve digestibility
When lentils are fermented, the chemicals that render the proteins and carbohydrates in lentils difficult to digest are disrupted, allowing your body to access the natural nourishment contained within the legume.
2. To reduce the anti-nutrients
However, although lentils are high in nutrients, they also contain “anti-nutrients.” The lectins and phytic acid included in lentils may bind to minerals and vitamins in our systems, making it difficult to absorb those nutrients. So, lentils are difficult to digest, to put it another way.
In addition to reducing the number of nutrients readily available in the lentils themselves, consuming them can lower the amount of calcium, iron, zinc, and other vital elements already present in our systems. Lipids and phytates are broken down during fermentation, preventing them from acting as “anti-nutrients.”
3. To improve flavor
Lentils contain a high concentration of tannins, which somewhat bind to proteins and reduce their digestibility and impart a bitter taste flavor, which can be mitigated by fermentation of the lentils. The natural astringency of red lentils, in specific, is reduced by fermentation, which is due to their high natural tannin content. Foods become less sweet as bacteria metabolize the natural sugars, and a more complex and savory flavor is produced.
4. Adds probiotics
Fermenting foods increases the number of beneficial enzymes in our diet, which helps to support our digestive system by improving our overall health.
To make the nutrients and proteins in beans and legumes more digestible, fermentation or sprouting are the best preparation methods. On the other hand, sprouting can be a messy and time-consuming process. Fermentation is straightforward and does not necessitate the use of any special equipment.
How lentils are fermented
Lentils can be fermented in two ways: traditional or in a jar. To ferment lentils, you can either use the naturally occurring “wild” bacteria in the air or use a “starter” to establish a more stable and predictable fermentation. I propose that you use a starter to get the greatest results.
If left to ferment in the correct climate, lentils will spontaneously ferment even if they are not cooked; nevertheless, it is necessary to cook them before fermenting. Cooking lentils before fermentation provides several major advantages, including the following:
Cooking lentils kill the natural bacteria in the lentils, allowing the fermentation starter to thrive in a more favorable environment.
Regardless of when or how lentils are fermented, they will need to be cooked to be consumed as food. Even if you ferment them beforehand, you will still have to cook them afterward to finish them.
If lentils are cooked after fermentation, much of the beneficial bacteria cultivated throughout the fermentation process will be destroyed.
As a result, it’s best to prepare lentils before fermenting them to avoid contamination. The following are the procedures to be followed:
Cook your Lentils
Check the condition of your lentils. It’s always a good idea to inspect the dried lentils to make sure they’re free of rocks and sand before cooking them.
Drain and rinse the lentils. Remove any dust or debris from the lentils by rinsing them under cold running water.
Prepare the lentils by soaking them. Add the lentils to a big saucepan and cover using cold, clean water until the lentils are tender. Allow for a soaking time of 2-4 hours.
Drain and re-rinse the lentils a second time. Remove the lentils from the soaking water and rinse them thoroughly in clean water.
Bring the lentils to a boil. Place the lentils back in the pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook until the lentils are cooked. Do not season the saucepan with salt or add any other ingredients.
Lentils should be drained and allowed to cool. The lentils should be drained and allowed to cool to room temperature after being cooked.
Ferment your lentils
Organize the following ingredients in a strong, airtight container:
i. Cooked lentils (around 1 pound)
ii. salt (sea) 1 tablespoon
iii. 1 cup of Lactobacillus acidophilus starter
iv. Optional components like minced onion or garlic, spices, and seasonings can be added towards the end of the cooking process.
v. Ensure that the container has at least one inch of headroom.
vi. Store for 2-3 days at room temperature (65-72°F) out of direct sunlight and out of direct sunlight.
Lentils will release a fragrant odor as they ferment, indicating that they are ready to use. Make sure your container is tightly sealed and that there is plenty of headroom so that the escaping gasses don’t push the lid open accidentally.
Best dishes to take with fermented lentils
The original dosa from India is the most well-known fermented lentil meal globally. In India, dosas are a thin crepe or pancake that can be either sweet or savory and flavored with a plethora of ingredients or served with various sauces. Idli, a savory dumpling created from fermented lentils, is another Indian food made from fermented lentils.
Fermented lentils can be used in the same ways as any other cooked lentils in soups, stews, and sautéed meals, just as you would any other cooked lentils. Fermented lentils are good for baking and can produce gluten-free bread or mashed into a flour alternative for baking.
You might be interested to read also our another comprehensive article of: Can You Ferment Ginger in Honey? – Easy Ways of Fermentation and What Happens When You Ferment Vegetables?
Fermenting lentils is not only viable, but it is also a fantastic technique to increase the nutritional value of lentils while also introducing beneficial bacteria and boosting the flavor.
Fermenting lentils is also a simple process that may be utilized in various dishes, including baked products and soups. If you aren’t fermenting lentils currently, you should start right away.