Welcome to our new Bean Blog! Over the next few weeks, we will explore the fascinating history of lentils through a series of blog posts and recipes. Check back each week for a new installment and a historical recipe you can cook! This week, celebrate the history of lentils with a bowl of Spicy Egyptian Lentil Soup.
Did you know that humans have been eating lentils since prehistoric times? Lentils were a staple for ancient Near-Eastern and European cultures, and were most likely the very first cultivated crop.
Archaeologists have discovered lentils from the Paleolithic period (10,000 BC) in the Franchthi Cave in southern Greece and at the ancient settlement of Mureybet on the banks of the Euphrates.
The Franchthi Cave was occupied for more than 20,000 years in prehistoric times, and contains the remains of very early agriculture, including almonds, pitachios, vetch, and lentils.
The Bible also mentions lentils, recording that Esau sold his birthright in exchange for a pot of lentil soup.
Lentils were a valuable crop in ancient Egypt. A depiction in the tomb of Rameses III shows a female servant preparing a meal of lentils. Lentil paste has also been discovered in Egyptian tombs at Thebes from 2200-2400 BC.
Lentils gradually spread out of the Middle East and became popular throughout all of Europe. Come back next week to read about how Greek and Roman people enjoyed this tasty legume!
Don’t forget to visit our delicious recipe for Spicy Egyptian Lentil Soup!