Lens culinaris / Lens esculenta
For the superstitious Brazilians, eating lentils on New Year’s Eve supper ensures a prosperous year. Lentils cooked with pork, in salads, soups or mixed with rice and onions – it does not matter the method of preparation, lentils must be eaten on the night of December 31 to January 1. Beliefs aside, lentil is popular all over Brazil, and can replace the every-day beans at any time of year. It is a good source of iron, protein and vitamin B2. It is believed that, among all the pulses, perhaps lentils was the first to be cultivated, originating in the arid regions of Southeast Asia. Currently, the largest producers are India and Turkey. As the crops in Brazil are still scarce, 90% of what is consumed in the country comes from Canada.