Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Discover: Lupino

  • Lupin, Lupino or Lupini Beans are yellow legume seeds of the Lupinus genus plant, most commonly the Lupinus luteus or Yellow Lupin, and were once a common food of the Mediterranean basin and Latin America. 
  • Today they are primarily eaten as a pickled snack food, and are treated as a gourmet delicacy.
  • Lupini Beans are commonly sold in brine in jars (like olives and pickles) and can be eaten by making a small tear in the skin with your teeth and "popping" the seed directly into one's mouth, but can also be eaten with the skin on.
  • This rarely heard of, but easy to grow, bean is popular in rural Mediterranean Europe, where it is served at Italian fairs and as an appetiser in Spanish beer halls. 
  • In the Lebanon these beans are a traditional snack food known as tremocos.
  • To grow, treat exactly the same as dwarf beans, when this unusual mid-early specimen will form an upright plant up to 50 cms tall with very pretty flowers. 
  • It will produce a heavy crop of beans that mature in stages, from the bottom branches upwards.
  • The delicious beans are flat, coin shaped and yellow brown with a small hole at one end and have a unique sweet flavour and a firm texture. 
  • Nutritionally they are very high in protein, vitamins and minerals.
  • They are extremely versatile in the kitchen and can be eaten cooked, chilled and then salted as an snack or cocktail nibble, hot or cold with salads or as an accompaniment to meat dishes or added to soups or stews.
  • The seed of many lupin species contain bitter-tasting toxic alkaloids, though there are often sweet varieties within that species that are completely wholesome. Taste is a very clear indicator. 
  • These toxic alkaloids can be leeched out of the seed by soaking it overnight and discarding the soak water. 
  • It may also be necessary to change the water once during cooking.
  • Fungal toxins also readily invade the crushed seed and can cause chronic illness.
  • It is in flower from June to July, and the seeds ripen from August to September. 
  • The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees. 
  • It fixes Nitrogen and is used as a green manure and soil improver in Southern Europe.
  • The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and can grow in nutritionally poor soil.
  • The plant prefers acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid soil. 
  • It cannot grow in the shade, and must have full sun all day. 
  • It requires moist soil.
Personally, we are growing this as an experiment and will report later on the results.

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