Thursday, May 8, 2014

Ten Pounds of Lupins

So... I bought 10 lbs. of Australian Sweet Lupins from Lupina LLC. I intended to only buy 5 or 6 lbs, but they offer free shipping on orders more than about $40. Each pound of lupin is $4, and shipping was otherwise going to be $12, so by buying enough for free shipping I ended up with 3 lbs of free lupins (right?!). My 10 lbs was divided among 7 lbs of seeds, and 3 lbs of flour.
When I opened the box, there was flour everywhere (maybe 1/2 teaspoon total but well spread out so it looked like a lot), but none of the bags seemed obviously damaged. I immediately cut the flour bags open and dumped them into a big plastic container.

I tasted a pinch of the flour and some of the dried beans (don't worry, these are "sweet" lupins, so their alkaloid content is very low, and I don't think eating them raw will cause me to get sick, the package of flour even lists "raw" as one of the selling points). The flour tasted to me like that powder that collects at the bottom of the Cheerios bag (or maybe more like the off-brand Cheerios bag), a bit sweeter than normal flour, and a bit more fibery (like cardboard, but in a good way!). The beans were smaller than I expected based on pictures I'd seen on the Internet. I believe this is because Australian Sweet Lupins are of the species Lupinus angustifolius, whereas the lupin most commonly consumed in Europe (and the one that shows up in most of the pictures online) is Lupinus albus. I also noticed that some of the seeds have holes in them as though they've been munched on by an insect (or a very small kangaroo). It's not very many, maybe only 15 or so in a whole 1 lb bag, but it's something I'll have to look out for and remove before sprouting because the damaged seeds are probably less likely to germinate (you should do this no matter what seeds you're sprouting, actually).

My intention is to learn how to make as many dishes as possible each using as much lupin as possible. Once I've developed a good set of recipes I want to cook a "Dennis Moore Memorial Dinner": a three course meal composed almost entirely of lupins.

Planned components of Dennis Moore dinner:

Lupin milk
Lupin rejuvelac

Lupin hummus
Lupin tortilla chips (or flat bread)
Lupini (soaked, boiled, salted lupin seeds)

Main course:
Lupin sprout salad
Lupin pasta (edit 5/27/14: I'm now thinking chili will be easier than pasta) with lupin tempe (or maybe tofu, but I much prefer tempe)
Lupin yoghurt

Lupin Ice cream topped with candied (honey roasted?) lupin beans.

Other possibilities:
Miso (looks difficult, probably beyond the scope of this project)
bread (I think it would be difficult to make bread with more than 30% lupin flour, so for the purposes of this dinner, it probably won't work)

I think I can make most of these things without too much trouble. The sprouts, hummus, lupini, and candied beans should be pretty simple to make. I don't anticipate the tempe being very difficult either. I think the milk and yoghurt should work ok after some trial and error. Lupin protein apparently makes fantastic ice cream (there is a recent patent on the subject, and at least one company making it). My one concern with the ice cream is that I won't be able to effectively isolate and concentrate the lupin protein using only common kitchen equipment (and not fancy equipment like industrial centrifuges and evaporators), but I'm hoping protein isolation won't actually be necessary, we'll see. I'm kind of worried that noodles and flat bread with close to 100% lupin flour won't stay together. Rejuvelac is kind of hit and miss: some seeds (spelt berries) make great rejuvelac, others (barley) I haven't had much luck with. Hopefully lupin rejuvelac is one of the good ones.

I'll post updates once I think I have decent recipes for some of these things. I'm also giving a bunch of seeds to a friend of mine who is going to try to grow them outside this summer, so hopefully the climate of eastern Washington is enough like the climate of Western Australia that he'll have some success.

If you have any good recipes that are mostly or wholly lupin, let me know in the comments!


  1. Hi Sean,

    I recently discovered your blog when I was searching for lupin recipes on Google. Really cool stuff you've posted! I'm curious, did you find a better way for de-hulling the beans? I'm doing it by hand and as you wrote, that's far from ideal.. :-).

    Cheers from Amsterdam (NL)!

    1. Hi Florian,

      Glad you found this information useful.

      I still don't have a better way to take the skins off the lupins.

      Maybe there is a source of commercially de-hulled lupins in Europe? I was able to find one supplier in the USA, so sometimes I use the commercially de-hulled lupins.

      For some recipes, you don't actually need to de-hull the lupins. For example, in recipes that use blended lupins.

      If you have to de-hull them yourself, the best advice I can give is to cook the lupins thoroughly first, so the skin gets loose.

      It might help to put the cooked lupins in a blender for a short time, and then pour off the hulls. People sometimes use that method for soybeans.
      I recall trying it with lupins but the hulls are so thick they don't float, so it's hard to pour them off.

      I'd love to try using a grain mill, but I don't have access to one. It would have to be put on a very coarse setting, I think.

      Good luck! Please let me know if you figure anything out.

    2. Hi Sean! Thanks for your reply. I just ordered a 'Family Grain mill' as I've read that this model is used regularly for dehulling soy beans (for making tempeh).

      I'll let you know if it's something worth trying!


    3. I'm interested to hear how it turns out.