Fool’s Errand

One of my favorite co-op employees was putting out a new to the store bulk item–lupini beans!  They are very high in protein, fiber and a dozen other cool things all of which are very bioavailable.  What’s not to like?  LB

I’ll tell you.  They came with instructions on how to safely prepare them. I don’t fear instructions or long preparation times.  It’s the safely part that started to get me.  Lupini Bean Recipe 05.14.15

When I got home I read that incorrect preparation “allows pharmacologically significant amounts of the anticholinergic alkaloids to remain in the beans, and poisoning symptoms result.”  Symptoms “include dilated unresponsive pupils, confusion, slowed thought and disorientation, flushed face and/or fever, high heart rate and blood pressure, tremors, difficulty with or slurred speech, in-coordination, dizziness, burning dry mouth, stomach pain, and anxiety or malaise.”  If I didn’t know better, I’d guess lightly soaked lupinis could be the next big thing with the drug set.  As it is, I’ll soak! LPC

I am strapped in for a twelve day project requiring twelve gallons of water and five cups of salt.  I am four days into it and haven’t had a taste.  Why try one early?  Happy to wait twelve days.  But now I read there are new varieties of sweet lupini beans containing very low levels of the dangerous alkaloids.  These require little or no soaking.  What kind do I have?  Dunno.  Soaking!

I also reviewed a dozen recipes online.  My favorite is the traditional Italian method of putting the beans in a cloth sack and placing the sack in a running stream for a week or two.  If that works, what’s up with all the salt in my instructions?  Granted–it isn’t that much at once.  1/4 cup per gallon of water.  Just enough to make a brine to keep unwanted bacteria from growing during the long soak.  But since you have to change the brine twice a day for 1o days, that’s 5 cups of salt in the end.  I’ll end up using a bit less.  I put three quarts of water in a gallon jar and three Tbs of salt.  I left out the last quart so there’s room for the beans and reduced the salt by 1 Tbs to keep the concentration of brine constant.  I’ve also been using two one gallon jars.  Two jars allows me to have one ready to receive the drained and rinsed beans.  Then  I rinse the newly empty jar, fill with three quarts of water and add salt.  This gives the salt 12 hours to dissolve.  The recipe doesn’t say anything about dissolving the salt, but that has to be better than not.

Many recipes use no salt at all but then the soaking time seems to double.  Some only change the water once a day.  I stumbled upon a page that seems to be the word for word source for the instructions I got, except the beans were soaked in plain water, not brine.  Who knows.  I understand the safety benefits of salt and I love the taste.  We’ll see–on May 21, 2015.

I also learned that the edge of the shell is to be bitten to break it and then the inner bean is popped into your mouth, one at a time.  You don’t eat the shell.  That’s the shell on the left and the bean on the right.  slb

Lacey remembers eating these from Italian delis as a kid and never liking them.  Too tough.  She didn’t know to remove the shell.  I’ve surely done the same thing if I encountered them.  Can’t say if I have.  They look like fava beans which I know I have been served.

My favorite saying is lupini beans are made for the next generation–because that’s how long they take to make.  On the same page there was a picture of a man boiling a huge vat of beans for his village.  Oh!  Here it is.  I’d make a joke related to lupini beans and hair loss, but it’s best not to joke at the expense of the fellow preparing your lupinis.  If I had a lupini walla in the neighborhood, I’d be a frequent customer.  And I’d tip well for the long soak.  As it is, this quart may be my first and last.  Not worried about poisoning, but who has time for 12 day recipes the end result of which are beans?  This may be the classic case of the “juice not being worth the squeeze.”  Isn’t that priceless!  A guy dropped that at the community garden today like it was no thing.  Best thing I’ve heard in awhile.  My guess?  I’ll stick to black bean burritos.

Frida is rocking, which reminds me–it is time to administer her midday trio of drops–immunosuppressant for tears, sodium chloride to reduce corneal edema and comfort drops because I love her.

Speak at you later.

2 responses to “Fool’s Errand

  1. Christina Abbott

    I love lupini beans… My Italian mudda turned me onto them – we usually eat the ones already jarred and brined. Mabel has even had a few in her short life span… I didn’t know how involved it was to make them from scratch – would love to hear about the final product!

    • Cool! This seems to be an item best left to the professionals. I tasted one just after I wrote that I would not–I can’t resist the forbidden–and it was already delicious. No bitterness so probably ready (i.e. safe). May be the case that the co-op had the new sweet variety and they didn’t know it. I’m still swapping brine for the full period just to be safe. I can see why you like them. Cheers!

Share your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s