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Sunday, December 30, 2012

LUPINI: A Traditional "Passatempo" (Snack)

Cured Lupini
In time of famine (post World War II, Italy), as children we used to go around with our pockets full of cured lupini and we used to leave a trail of skins.  Today in Italy, lupini are considered a “passatempo” or snack.  They can be found in festivals and country fairs.

In the late 50’s, when we came to the US, our Christmas holidays were spent around the table with family and friends (paesani).  We used to play cards (briscola) and bingo (tombola) and as “passatempo” we snacked on lupini and freshly roasted peanuts. 
Roasted peanuts in shell
Dried lupini

A few weeks before Christmas, my mother used to soak the dried lupini and baccala’.
Lupini are bitter and therefore, before eating them they must be cured.

Curing Lupini
  • Pick over the dried beans to remove any debris.  Rinse under water.
  • Put them in a large pot of water and bring to a boil.  Soft boil for one hour or until the skin falls off when lupini are squeezed between the finger.
  • Remove from the heat and let them cool.
  • Rinse them well; put the beans in a large jar and fill it with water.
  • Put the jar in the refrigerator and rinse them every day for 7 to 10 days.

At this point, you can taste one to see if all the bitterness is gone. Then add about 4 teaspoons of salt to the jar, which can be kept for weeks in the refrigerator (change water periodically and add more salt when you do).
Lupini in water and refrigerated
 Today, I usually try to have lupini beans ready made for eating year ’round along with ceci arrostiti.