The main cultivated forms of lupin, grown for its seed as a grain legume and as a cover crop, originated in the Mediterranean, growing on disturbed ground on acid soils.
They include white lupine (L. albus), yellow lupine (L. luteus), European blue lupine (L. angustifolius), and Egyptian lupine.
The Egyptian type was once considered L. terminus but is now considered part of L. albus.
White or Egyptian lupines have been cultivated for centuries in many European and African countries, like Sudan and Egypt.
Dried seed can be made into a flour that mixes well with wheat flower to make a pasta, bread or other cereal product.
Seeds are generally cooked and used as a protein-rich vegetable in the way that cooked beans are used. Roasted seed can also be used as a coffee substitute.
It is also used as green manure, as the plant has a symbiotic relationship with a bacteria that forms nodules on the roots and fixes atmospheric nitrogen. And it can be a good forage crop, including the seeds in sweet varieties. More recently researchers have found it to be a good feed in the aquaculture industry.
Seed should be thoroughly leached by soaking and discarding the soaked water before cooking, as it contains bitter tasting, toxic alkaloids.
Some cultivars have been bred to have almost none of the alkaloid (lupinine), and it's best to choose those. Sweet varieties include “Kiev,” “Primorsky,” “Strain 21” and “Ultra.”
Other forms are native to the Americas, such as L. mutabilis of the Andes in S. America, also known as sweet lupine, and L. pubescens.
Lupine is a cool season annual grown during the winter season, but in temperate regions would be grown during the summer. It is moderately resistant to both frost and high temperature. It is also fairly drought resistant.
Pods are three to five inches in length, and contain three to four seeds which are similar to baby lima beans.
Pre soak seeds for 24 hours in warm water. Typical germination time is two weeks.
Broadcast seed in spring to provide about 30 plants/m2; crops mature in six to seven months.
It is easily grown in any moderately good soil, as long as it's in full sun. Narrowly spaced rows have been shown to produce higher yields than wider spaced rows, but weeds are a problem and sometimes it's necessary to have wider spacing for machine weeding.
Researchers have had good luck interplanting lupin with peas, which help cut down on weeds.
Seeds mature in August to September and can be harvested like legumes.
Post-Harvest and Packing
Similar to soybean, with seeds containing about 37 percent protein.