Take Time to Stop to Smell, Pick and Eat the Lupines

Almost everyone thinks the big patches of spiky flowers in the ditches along Highway 61 and now the Gunflint Trail are pretty.  They come in pink, purple and white and cover large areas of land and are called lupines. Those “pretty” flowers are not native to Northern Minnesota and they are invasive. What does that mean? It means, “PLEASE, come to the Gunflint Trail, stop to pick the lupines and help us get rid of them before they destroy the BWCA.”

Lupines, like any other invasive species can cause many problems because they do not belong here. People brought them north and people continue to plant, spread and encourage the growth of this evil species.  Some places in Grand Marais even sell lupines and there is a business on the Gunflint Trail selling lupine seeds!  I would say go ahead and plant them on your own property but the problem with invasive species like lupines is they spread way too well on their own and will not stay on just your property.  They can change and degrade native habitats and even cause native plants to become extinct.  They compete with native plants and crowd them out because lupines grow so easily. When native plants are gone then native wildlife can suffer too.

While the ditches on the North Shore may be covered in other non-native invasive species areas along the Gunflint Trail are not. When lupines are allowed to grow on the Gunflint Trail they pose a risk to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Wind can carry seeds into the BWCA and once they get there they will have no problem multiplying and choking out native species. I love wildflowers and blueberries. Where lupines live there are only lupines and they do not belong on the Gunflint Trail or in the BWCA.

A friend recently told me you can eat lupine seeds, I’ve included some information about them below. Another friend also sent me a Monty Python clip featuring lupines. It’s kind of funny. In all seriousness I really do encourage you to come to the Gunflint Trail and pick the lupines before they go to seed. Pick as many as you can and take them with you so we can eradicate them from our area and prevent them from getting into the Boundary Waters.

The Nutrition in Lupine Seeds

| By Louise Tremblay

A member of the legume family, lupine seeds — sometimes called lupins or lupini beans — make a healthful addition to your diet, and you can consume them on their own or use ground, dried lupini beans as a replacement for flour. Eating lupini beans adds nutritional value to your diet because they come packed with fiber, protein, B-complex vitamins and essential minerals. But you should avoid lupine seeds if you have a peanut allergy, since they might trigger an allergic reaction.

Macronutrients and Fiber

A 1-cup serving of cooked lupine seeds contains 198 calories, which come from a small amount of fat and larger amounts of proteins and carbohydrates. Each cup of lupins boasts 26 grams of protein, which aids in new cell growth, supports tissue repair and maintains immune system function. A cup of of lupines also contains 16.4 grams of carbohydrates, including 4.6 grams of fiber. This dietary fiber — 18 percent of the daily fiber intake recommended for women and 12 percent for men — maintains cardiovascular health and might also aid in weight control. A serving of lupini beans also offers 4.9 grams of fat, which provides energy and helps you absorb certain vitamins.

Folate and Thiamin

Eating lupins helps you consume more vitamins. They provide a significant amount of thiamin, a vitamin essential for carbohydrate and fat metabolism, as well as maintaining nervous system function. Each 1-cup serving of cooked lupine seeds contains 0.22 milligram of thiamin — 20 percent of the recommended daily intake for women and 18 percent for men. Lupini beans also offer 98 micrograms of folate per serving, which is 25 percent of the recommended daily intake. Folate helps your cells metabolize proteins and also controls gene activity.

Manganese and Zinc

Add lupine seeds to your diet as a source of minerals. As a result of its zinc content, lupins promote immune function, and they also aid in reproductive health and regulation of gene activity. Eating a cup of cooked lupini beans boosts your zinc intake by 2.3 milligrams — 29 percent and 21 percent of the daily zinc intakes set for women and men, respectively. The manganese in lupins neutralizes free radicals, preventing cellular damage, and also supports healthy bone and cartilage growth. A cup of lupini beans provides 1.12 milligrams of manganese, which makes up approximately half the recommended manganese intake for men and 62 percent for women.

Magnesium and Copper

Opt for lupins as a source of magnesium. Each cup offers 90 milligrams, which makes up 28 percent of the magnesium intake recommended daily for women and 21 percent for men. Consuming a cup of lupine seeds also increases your copper intake by 383 micrograms, or 43 percent of the recommended daily intake. Most of the magnesium in your body works to maintain healthy bone density, while smaller amounts of magnesium support muscle function, contribute to healthy cell membranes and aid in cell signalling. The copper abundant in lupines helps your body process iron, aids in the function of your spinal cord and brain, and strengthens your blood vessels.

Lupine Bean

Lupinus albus, Leguminosae

Lupine Bean

The fruit of a plant, some varieties of which are originally from the Mediterranean region and others from North or South America. The white lupine bean is probably the most widely eaten. The pods enclose 3-6 seeds that are a dull pale yellow and are generally packed tightly together.


Most lupine beans should be treated, in order to neutralize the alkaloid substances that make them bitter:

1. Cover 2 cups (500 ml) of lupine beans with 6 cups (1.5 l) of cold water, then leave them to soak 12 hr.

2. Drain the lupine beans, rinse and cover them again with fresh water.

3. Cook the lupine beans gently until tender (about 2 hr). Check for doneness by inserting the point of a knife.

4. Drain the lupine beans, cover them again with cold water and let them cool completely.

5. Drain again, cover them once again with cold water, mix in 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of salt and place in a cool spot (not in the fridge). Leave to soak 6-7 days, changing the salted water twice a day.

6. Once the bitterness is gone, keep the lupine beans in the fridge in salted water in an airtight container.

7. To serve the lupine beans, drain the amount needed and serve as is or dressed with lemon juice, with or without their skin.

Nutritional Information
water 71%
protein 15.5g
fat 2.9g
carbohydrates 9.9g
fiber 0.7g
calories 119
per 3.5 oz/100 g

The white lupine bean is very nutritious.

Good Source (Boiled): magnesium, potassium and zinc.

Contains (Boiled): phosphorus, copper, thiamine, iron and calcium.

As they lack certain amino acids, white lupine bean proteins are incomplete (see Theory of Food Complementarity, p. 277 of the book).

Serving Ideas

Lupines are served plain as an appetizer in the same way as olives, especially in Italy and the Middle East. They are made into a flour, and used in soups, sauces, cookies, pasta dishes and bread. Lupine beans can be roasted and ground to make a coffee substitute.

  • from:
    The Visual Food Lover’s Guide
  • by QA International
  • Wiley 2009
  • Paperback; 616 pages; US $16.95
  • ISBN-10: 0470505591
  • ISBN: 978-0-470-50559-5
  • Reprinted by permission.

Buy The Visual Food Lover’s Guide

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