Our Black Beluga Lentils are grown near Killarney Manitoba and are cleaned in our mill in Lundar. I’m told that these teeny tiny little lentils are named after beluga caviar (not that I know what that looks like…), and although they soften quicker than a normal lentil (about 20 minutes cook time) they retain their dark colour and don’t get mushy, making them perfect for salads and…well…just about everything!
Beyond their culinary uses, beluga lentils are a bit of an rarity in the food world. They get their rich dark blue colour from a concentration of anthocyanins, the antioxidants also present in blue and purple berries, that are thought to reduce the risks of cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
But it’s also important to look backwards to how they were grown. Introducing Grant Rigby, of Rigby Orchards Farm (http://www.rigbyorchards.com/index.html), farming in the Turtle Mountain region of Manitoba. His background in agriculture and food science led him to farm, not solely as a way of growing food, but as an deeply personal experiment in creating more resilient soil structures on the land his family had farmed since 1882. Nearly 20 years ago, this quest led him to organic farming principals, but has not stopped there. For Grant, beluga lentils fit into a farming system where every available measure is taken to minimize soil disturbance, reverse soil salinity, and cultivate healthy soil structures without chemical applications. Even when growing annual crops such as lentils, his fields always maintain living perennial plants, where the deep root structures of perennial legumes benefit the soil, and also serve as a mechanism for deep soil carbon capture.
We have more information, recipes and photos about these amazing lentils here.