I get a bit too freaked out about health and safety when it comes to cooking.

I am cooking a lentil soup today and have just added a whole bunch of lentils I forgot to rinse. Is the food safe to eat? Is the rinsing for hygienic reasons or for flavour/consistency reasons?

  • 1
    No you will die :))))
    – Alchimista
    Feb 5 '19 at 10:11

I can only speak for UK supermarkets and you haven't said where you're from, but our lentils are clean as bought. A typical packet doesn't say to rinse them. With red lentils the only reaosn I can see for rinsing is to (slightly) reduce foaming; with Puy lentils and some others even that's not an issue and you may lose flavour.

Some Indian recipes (actually from India rather than westernised) say that when you rinse you need to pick over for stones, but I've never had that with dried lentils or beans.

  • It really depends on the brand: sainsburys.co.uk/shop/gb/groceries/ktc-red-lentils-2kg these say to rinse. Lentils can be dried on the ground and lentil-sized stones will get through any sieving the producers do. I've found them in UK packets occasionally.
    – Richard
    Feb 4 '19 at 13:28
  • 1
    @Richard that seems reasonable. I'll try to remember to check the packets from the "Indian" (actually Bangladeshi) supermarket where I buy them in bulk: the English on the packet is more Indian than British and I think they're imported from the subcontinent. Even with checking, you could easily miss small stones, more so if you were rinsing without searching as many do
    – Chris H
    Feb 4 '19 at 13:49

Fifty years ago you might have needed to rinse your lentils and pick them over for stones. Modern food methods (and lawsuits for dentist bills..) have made that completely superfluous in much of the world.

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