Lentil ( Lens Esculenta)
This is a leguminous plant which derives its botanical name from the fact that it is shaped like a lens. It is possibly the oldest of all pulses, and is mentioned in the Bible. The plant is extremely resistant to cold conditions, with a life-cycle beginning with sowing in April and ending with harvest in July or August. It contains approximately the same amount of protein as meat, very little fat, a lot of natural fibre and mineral salts (sodium, potassium, iron and calcium), and a range of vitamins, notably from the B group. Lentils can be eaten on their own in a soup or as an accompaniment to cooked meats such as sausages or “cotechino” (a variety of spiced sausage). It is traditionally believed that riches will follow if one eats lentils for supper on New Year’s Eve.