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Mar 9, 2014 07:52 PM

Help identify these things in my lentils?

Do you know what these are? They are about the same size, color, and hardness as my brown lentils, but look sort of exploded and are much less smooth. The front and back are different, the "more exploded" and "less exploded" items you see in the picture. There were only 15-20 or so in the whole bag of lentils. Are they just mutants, or some other seed or pulse or what?

Thanks for any help!

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  1. Baby rabbit pellets?
    Are they soft?

    1. They appear to be some other seed. I've often found other grains that look like rice or wheat in lentils. I just pick them out like the foreign object they are.

      1. There probably some sort of weed seed that got in back in the fields. Lentils are often full of those (I know of at least one brand where they make up about 1-2% of the total bag weight.)
        Based on the size and shape, I think those are actually the "pads" left from the seeds of something in the dandelion group (the little white nub left after all the fuzzy seeds have detached and flown into the breeze. Ive seen similar pads in bags of Indian Coriander, so for them to be in some lentils is not at all unlikey.
        And in all likelyhood, the wheat and rice grains ARE wheat and rice grains; both are common "volunteers" (domestic seed showing up in some other domestic seed) in lentils (barley and oats too). If some of the rice grains still had thier hull on them (a yellow to black outer coating with ridges and tiny hairs) that's another clue.

        1. To me, these look like they might be the small bulbous part of the lentil plant where the pod attaches to the stem. When they remove the pods, I think these little nubs can easily stay mixed in with the lentils since, before drying, they are about the same size, color and texture as the fresh lentils.

          Here's a picture of a lentil plant that kind of shows what I mean. When dry and run through the packaging plant, the litte pointy bits (sepals?) would break and crumble, off leaving just the "caps" you found.:

          1 Reply
          1. re: ninrn

            The individual parts, hard to distinguish when it's dry, are indeed sepals, together the whole "cap" is called the calyx.

          2. i believe they might be weed seeds. i do know that they float, and the lentils sink, so if you immerse all your lentils in cold water and give them a stir, all of these things will rise to the top. they are easy to skim off that way, rather than having to pick through all of the dry lentils - this seems an easier way of dealing with them, especially in large quantities.