Origin: Paradise, Utah
Improvement status: Cultivated material
Seeds per packet: ~25
Germination tested 12/2019:
Life cycle: Annual
Lupines are most widely known as beautiful flowers that come in an array of shades. But in some parts of the world — most notably the Mediterranean region — they are commonly grown as a food crop. The name "lupini" is the Italian plural for the word, but it has become the common name for the food in English too (because they're usually only available to American consumers in the Italian section of our grocery stores, boiled and brined, in a jar next to some olives). Lupinis are also turned into a crunchy snack which can be found on bars in many mainly Spanish-speaking places, where you might expect pretzels or peanuts (incidentally, many people allergic to peanuts are also allergic to lupinis). Lupinis can be ground into a tasty flour that adds protein to baked goods of all types. The seeds need to be soaked and/or boiled in order to remove toxic alkaloids, but breeding has reduced these toxins in many of the edible lupine species, and those who love this plant think the time it takes to leach them is well worth it.
We're not certain which species these "lupini" beans are, but they are most likely Lupinus albus, the most commonly consumed species (others are L. angustifolius, L. hirsutus, and L. mutabilis). Joseph Lofthouse, our source for these seeds, has been growing and eating them in Paradise, Utah, for years. He soaks them in water for a week (changing the water every couple days) to leach out the bitter toxins.
GROWING TIPS: Plant in very early spring. About 6" apart. Upright plants about 30" tall.