Lupini Beans – the slowest of the slow food

Lupini beans are a legume from the lupine plant. You can find them jarred and ready to eat in some italian delis, but I think it is better to make your own.  The jarred ones have some acid added to them that gives them a slightly sour taste that you do not get when you make them yourself.

Lupini take a long time to make (about ten days) because they are full of alkaloids that you have to soak out of them.  Until the alkaloids are gone, lupini are way too bitter to eat.  They are in fact, disgusting until the alkaloids are gone. While they are slow to make, it is not hard and not much work.  I will describe how to make them below.


1 cup of dried lupini

a glass jar (mason jar or pickle jar works well)

salt to taste


Soak the lupini overnight in a bowl of water covered with about four inches of water.  In the morning, you will see that they are plumped and full.  Drain off the water, put them in a large pot covered with plenty of water.  Put the pot on the stove on high heat and boil them for one hour.  Let them cool, drain them, and put them in a mason jar covered with fresh water and put them in the refrigerator.  Now, every day change the water.  I usually do it once in the morning and once in the evening, or really, whenever I open the refrigerator and have a second or two to spare.

Soak the Lupini overnight in a bowl of water

Soak the Lupini overnight in a bowl of water

You need to do this for about a week to ten days.  When you start noticing that the water is no longer yellow, you are likely done.  Taste a lupini then and see if they are good.  If they are not bitter, add about two teaspoons or salt to the last water change and give them another day or two to soak up the salt.  Now you can  squeeze them and pop them in your mouth with a beer or two.

An old pickle jar and a dash of salt are all you need.

An old pickle jar and a dash of salt are all you need.

A few notes, I have heard of people doing this process on the countertop, and while I suppose it would work, I remember how the Health Department would lecture us on food poisoning and beans when I worked at the deli in Safeway.  I recommend playing it safe and doing it in the refrigerator so you know you will be fine.

My lupini supplier bought the small white beans and I gave them a try.  Pretty neat!  Soak them, boil them, and they are ready to eat.  No water changes necessary.  They are, however, much smaller than the bitter beans.  Still, it is neat to have options.