Fermenting Lentils

I wrote it before, and I will write it once more: The (proper) dairy is my No1 point of disagreement with mainline Paleo, with lentils being the No2. Lentils have too much iron, manganese, and folate, nutrients that are sorely missed when going too-low carb. They are essentially the best kinds of legumes in terms of nutrition. Unfortunately, they also have a lot of anti-nutrients: loads of lectins, to be exact.

In the olden days, beans would only be eaten while they’ve been previously fermented (soy too). But in the fast-pacing modern days we live in, convenience rules, so people stopped fermenting foods. According to an experiment carried out by researchers, a 24 to 36 hours fermentation of lentils gets rid of most of the lectins! At the end of the fermentation, the lectins and anti-nutrients surviving are not more than the ones found on a carrot or spinach. So in my opinion, Paleo fanatics who are adamant about the no-legumes rule, need to ease up. Just like with dairy, there are exceptions to the rule.


Lentils and Peas by Photobunny Earl. Licensed under the Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 2.0.

So, how to ferment lentils? There are two ways to do this, either via pickling, or via lacto-fermentation (preferred).

Common Steps (for 1 cup of lentils):

A. Lentils are usually cross-contaminated with grains (since they grow in grass fields), so you must go through your raw lentils and remove anything that doesn’t look like a lentil.

B. Wash the lentils thoroughly using your palms, and sift-strain them.

Acidity Fermentation:

1. Place in a bowl, and add double the amount of water than that of lentils. The water must be slightly warm, around 30 C. For this type of fermentation, any kind of water will do, but filtered is best.

2. Add 1 tablespoon of raw vinegar, or the juice of a small lemon into the water. Stir, and cover (but not air-tight).

3. After 12 hours, strain the water away, and repeat steps 1 & 2 (every 12 hours). Ferment for 24 to 36 hours.

Lacto-fermentation:

1. Place in a bowl, and add double the amount of water than that of lentils. The water must be slightly warm, but no more than 25-30 C. For this type of fermentation, non-tap water must be used. Use either filtered, or bottled water. The good bacteria we will use to ferment, can’t survive on tap water.

2. Add 1.5 tablespoons of plain yogurt, or preferably, 1/4 cup of home-made goat kefir. Stir, and cover (but not air-tight).

3. After 12 hours, strain the water away, and repeat steps 1 & 2 (every 12 hours). Ferment for 24 to 36 hours.

Drain and wash them again, then cook your lentils according to your recipe (although probably they will require less cooking time).

10 Comments »

Brian wrote on April 23rd, 2012 at 1:31 AM PST:

What’s a good website to help me get started on the Paleo? I want to try it. I don’t need to lose weight, but I have hideous allergies and I like the mental focus stuff.


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on April 23rd, 2012 at 1:36 AM PST:

Robb Wolf’s web site, Chris Kresser’s web site is also good, Paleohacks.com another good one. But if you want the basic info in one place, check my Paleo diet description, and its 10 superfoods.


Brian wrote on April 25th, 2012 at 2:14 AM PST:

I’m really considering doing this. So far my biggest concern is that the Paleo is fine with local honey but not okay with any other kind of sugar. I’ve done a little reading on sugar and I haven’t found any science saying honey is any better or worse than any other form of sugar, even refined. Do you have any info on this or links? I’ve heard the honey advocates but I’ve not heard evidence of any science behind it.


Brian wrote on April 25th, 2012 at 2:15 AM PST:

also, have you found Trader Joes to be Paleo Friendly?


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on April 25th, 2012 at 9:12 AM PST:

Trader Joe’s is pretty Paleo-friendly, yeah. For similar items, they’re more likely to be gluten-free than in other supermarkets.

Regarding honey: honey is safe because just like the sugars in fruits, its various sugars are monosaccharides. These are far easier to digest, and they are used by the body early enough to not become food for the bacteria in the gut (which is the beginning of the end for health).


John Waterman wrote on April 25th, 2012 at 4:55 PM PST:

Hi Eugenia,

Wouldn’t the value of lentil fermentation be neutralized by cooking? Or do you eat them raw?

John


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on April 25th, 2012 at 4:58 PM PST:

Not sure anyone has the answer for this. I’d personally cook them.


John Waterman wrote on April 26th, 2012 at 2:33 AM PST:

My friend, an Iranian American poet, artist and chef who is a long-time maker and user of kefir, thinks the heat of cooking would kill the “good stuff”. What the hell. Actually pre-soaked lentils are not bad to eat raw.

She visited Greece a few years ago and stayed in Santorini. She loved it, breathing in the texture, the people, the sounds and smells. She loved it there and wrote dome good poetry. Look if you want: http://www.estherkamkar.com/

John

PS – I’m enjoying your burst of new creativity with montages to tell a story. A softer side of you but still with punch :)


Jessica wrote on April 27th, 2012 at 1:11 PM PST:

When you say that lacto fermentation can’t be done w/ tap water…do you think well water would be OK? A lot of bottled water is allegedly tap water, so I’m not sure it would be a guarantee. I can get bottled spring water around here; would that be good, or is distilled better? Perhaps a more efficient question would be: do you know what we’re trying to avoid that’s present in tap water? Thanks!


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on April 27th, 2012 at 1:12 PM PST:

Distilled water is probably better.


Comments are closed as this blog post is now archived.

Lines, paragraphs break automatically. HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

The URI to TrackBack this blog entry is this. And here is the RSS 2.0 for comments on this post.