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Lentil Cooking Tips

Salt can toughen lentils

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Bowl of lentils
Sheri L. Giblin/Photodisc/Getty Images

Lentil Cooking Tips

• Lentils are a natural in soups and stews and also make a great cold salad.

• Lentils need no pre-soaking and cook much more quickly than other dried legumes.

• To cook lentils, simply pick over to remove debris or shriveled lentils, rinse, and drain. Cover with water or broth and boil for 2 to 3 minutes (to aid in digestion). Reduce heat and simmer until tender. Depending on the variety and age, cooking time may take anywhere from 10 minutes to 1 hour.

• When using a pressure cooker to cook lentils, add a teaspoon of oil to keep the scum from blocking the safety valve.

• Salt added to the cooking water will toughen the beans. Add salt once the lentils are completely cooked.

• Acidic ingredients such as wine or tomatoes can lengthen cooking time. You may wish to add these ingredients after the lentils have become tender.

• Lentils should be liberally seasoned.

• The high protein content in lentils makes them an excellent meat substitute.

• Older lentils will take longer to cook because they have lost more moisture. Do not mix newly-purchased lentils with old ones. They will cook unevenly.

More About Lentils and Lentil Recipes:

Lentil Selection and Storage
Lentil Cooking Tips and Preparation
Lentil Equivalents
Lentil History
Lentil Recipes
Lentil Photo © 2007 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.

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