23 Thermidor: Lentille (lentil, Lens culinaris)
Here’s a hard-working legume! The many varieties of lentil feed quite a lot of the world. They especially make themselves valuable in vegetarian or low-meat diets: the lentil is high in protein and a good source of iron and B vitamins. While lentils are deficient in two of the essential amino acids, mixing them with rice or pasta makes for a complete protein profile. If you are alive, thank a lentil—at the very least, on behalf of your ancestors.
What do lentils like? They are happiest in cool climates, tolerating some touches of spring frost; they want well-drained soil and not too much rainfall. Inoculate them with Rhizobium friends—everyone remembers about Fabaceae and the nitrogen cycle?—and keep down their weedy competitors. And your lentils will repay you.