Monday, April 14, 2008

Greek style organic lentils- reduce agricultural runoff

One cup lentils, or mixed lentils and beans, two cups water, soaked overnight.
One stalk celery diced fine.
Two carrots diced fine or shredded.
One bunch swiss chard or beet greens, spines removed, chopped into inch squares.
One clove garlic chopped fine.
Two tablespoons hot new mexico chili power.
1/4 teaspoon cayenne.

To remove the spines trim the leaf along both sides of the spine as far as possible. Or if you don’t like putting a metal surface to leaves fold the leaf along the spine and tear the stalk out. You can use the stalks for stock or compost them.

Layer with the legumes on the bottom and cook with the reflector on for almost two hours. You want it soft. Longer if overcast.

Two spring onions chopped fine.
Handfull parsley chopped fine.
Juice of half a lemon. Equal part Olive Oil.
One clove crushed garlic.
Salt to taste.
Beat and pour over. Mix.
Garnish with yogurt before serving.

To make a crostini blend it all with enough olive oil to make it spreadable. Crostini is a spread for day old bread that is toasted before serving for an appetizer or to accompany a salad.

Why organic lentils?
Lentils in this area are generally from India or Italy. They are grown in CA but not in enough volume to supply the demand. This has more to do with the decline of wheat and barley as commercial crops in CA.

They grow best in dry climates which is mostly all of California and are an ideal food high in nutirents, protein, and carbohydrates. But they are displaced by more profitable crops like rice. I say displaced because rice like lentils is not a natural food staple for Californians. Our food cultures are influenced by what business brings to market.

Rice is water intensive and strangely able to grow anywhere in the world and most places are self sufficient in rice. The growth is primarily a means of shipping water since poor rice growing areas like Egypt can import rice rather than allocate water for its growth. Rice typically requires from 4 to 10 acre-ft of water to produce a rice crop in California

Regions like Vietnam and the Indian Ganges basin would make natural suppliers. But nations monkey with the flow of water and provide business with the ability to grow rice unsustainable. Today California is a major producer of rice.

Lentils on the other hand are grown as rotation crops and require dithiocarbamate and organophosphate mostly in Washington State. These chemicals lead to increased periphyton growth and perhaps even stimulate algal blooms including protozoa.

“Chemicals originating from agricultural activity enter the aquatic environment through
atmospheric deposition, surface run-off or leaching (Kreuger, 1999) and frequently
accumulate in soft-bottom sediments and aquatic organisms (Miles and Pfeuffer, 1997;
Lehotay et al., 1998; Kreuger et al., 1999). In all parts of the world pesticides have been
found in the aquatic ecosystem and often information of how these pesticides affect inhabiting
organisms is missing. In canals in south Florida more than 700 pesticide detections were made
between 1991 and 1995 (Miles and Pfeuffer, 1997). Both commonly used pesticides and pesticides withdrawn from the market years ago do reach and/or accumulate in aquatic
ecosystems and thereby constitute a threat to all aquatic organisms.”

According to the CDC some studies in adults and children have linked organophosphate exposure to lymphoma and leukemia. Home pesticide use overall has been linked to childhood cancers such as soft tissue sarcomas, leukemias, and cancer of the brain.

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