Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Beluga lentils

In the past couple of years, as research into the phytochemicals in food has really taken off, it has become clear that the foods with the deepest, darkest colors have more healthful compounds than their pale counterparts.

Enter the beluga lentil--a small, shiny black lentil named for its resemblance to caviar. Recent research at the Agricultural Research Service (the in-house research facility of the USDA) has discovered that beluga lentils' deep hue comes from natural pigments called anthocyanins. Anthocyanins, which are currently being studied for their health potential, are a group of compounds responsible for the reddish-purple color of certain foods, like raspberries, red cabbage and pomegranates.

The specific anthocyanin identified in beluga lentils bears the memorable name of delphinidin-3-O (2-O-beta-D-glucopyranosyl-alpha-L-arabinopyranoside). Quick, say that three times fast.

Science aside, beluga lentils are just neat to eat. They have all the other established benefits of legumes and are also quick-cooking because of their size. You may be able to find them at a gourmet store, or you can find them online at Indian Harvest (though they sell in bulk amounts) or Purcell Mountain Farms ($3.95 a pound).

No comments:

Post a Comment