The Inca empire once spanned the length of the Andes and was the largest single country in pre-Columbian America. This is even more impressive when you consider just how incredibly harsh the Andes can be freezing by night, rugged, dry, and windy all the time. In a time where any type of information or goods had to be transported by human or animal effort, maintaining an empire seems almost impossible. But the Inca did it. The unique requirements of the Andes led them to develop staple food that rivals modern astronauts’ food in shelf-life, nourishment, and ease of transport to power their way to an empire. That food is called Chuño and is still being made the same way it has been eight centuries ago by leaving potatoes out for a few nights.
Chuno is a variety of sun-dried potato unlike their white peeled variety, chunos are black or dark brown in color as the potato skin remains on. Similarly, they also go through the pressing, dehydrating, freezing, and sun-drying processes to leave a final product with a longer shelf life.
They are commonly consumed in Bolivia, Peru and other South American countries.
The freeze-dried potato is useful in a lot of ways but must first be given a soak overnight then peeled and the rind must be removed before cooking. Once prepared the chuno is commonly added into soups, stews, and broths or accompanied with meat, other vegetables, and a sauce or gravy.
They have a mild taste, will appear slightly bruised and soft in consistency but tend to hold any flavor well.
They have high nutritional value with great amounts of iron, calcium and fibre, giving a good energy boost when added to your meal.
- Promotes healthy bones
- Lowers blood pressure
- Prevents heart diseases
- Helps with inflammation
- Fights cancers
- Aids digestion
- High in vitamins
- Improves metabolism
- Helps with weight loss
- High in Antioxidants