Lupine seeds are a highly nutritious source of food for humans and animals. They can be harvested from the lupine crop and stored for long-term consumption or use in recipes. Harvesting lupine seed is not difficult, but it is important to properly prepare the seeds before storage in order to make them last as long as possible.
When to Harvest Lupine Seeds
The best time to harvest lupine seeds is after the pods have begun to dry on the plant. After full ripening, the lupine bean cracks, and seeds fly out of it in different directions. In order to have time to collect them before they fall out, it is recommended to cut the fruits as soon as they turn yellow and start to dry.
Harvesting Lupine Seeds
Harvesting lupine seeds is simple, but care should be taken when performing this task. To harvest lupine seeds, hold a paper bag or container below the pod and break it open while holding it over the bag. The pods should be opened carefully to avoid dispersing the small seeds; a few shaking motions will help dislodge them. Once all the pods have been collected, they should be transferred to a well-ventilated place where they can air dry for 2-3 weeks.
What do Lupine Seeds Look Like?
Lupine seed pods look like small, flat-topped papery pod that contains several seeds. They can range in color from light yellow to dark brown and come in different shapes and sizes depending on the species of lupine. In general, they have a round shape with an oval base and are typically 1/8 to 1/4 inch in diameter. The pods can contain anywhere from 5 to 7 seeds and have a papery outer covering that easily breaks open when ripe, allowing the seeds to be harvested.
Shelf Life and Storage Conditions
To ensure long-term storage, the lupine seeds should be dried to a moisture content of 7-8 percent before being placed in airtight containers. This will help preserve the quality and shelf life of the seeds. Recommended seed storage conditions are at temperatures between 40-50°F (4-10°C), with relative humidity below 65%. The containers should be kept away from direct light, which can cause deterioration. Properly dried and stored lupine seeds will have an extended shelf life of about five years.
What is the Use of Lupine?
Currently, lupine grain is used mainly for animal feed and as a side. At the same time, lupine grain is not inferior in protein content and some varieties are superior to soybean and some other legumes. Depending on the species and variety, lupine grains contain 32 to 38% protein and up to 15% fat.
Waste after protein extraction is used for feed. Lupine is also used in medicine and pharmacology, floriculture, and forestry, and as feed for fish breeding. Some forms are used for decorative purposes. Lupine does not emit nectar but gives honey bees pollen.