Most likely, potatoes will be included on any Peruvian shopping list. But this popular Peruvian food takes on a whole new meaning in the country. Since when you go to any market in any part of the country, you will most likely find a section dedicated to this wonder of the country. So more specifically, your list can include a wide variety of potatoes. And with so many varieties to know and experiment with, we have prepared a small article. Together with Machu Travel Peru, we want you to know the most fascinating varieties of Peruvian potatoes. Meet with us some of the most delicious potatoes in Peru.
Everything you need to know about Peruvian potatoes
HISTORY OF THE POTATO
Some academics and scientists believe that the potato had its origins in the highlands of Peru, Bolivia, and Chile 13,000 years ago. Thousands of years ago, the ancient inhabitants of the Peruvian Andes grew potatoes. This was one of the most praised foods due to its ability to grow in harsh climates. The potato was brought to Europe by the Spanish in the 16th century. While the harvest was initially greeted with a bit of superstition, it became an important staple in the daily diet of most Europeans. Today, the main organizations consider potatoes as one of the best foods against international famine.
Its great ability to grow in different climates and conditions makes it one of the best foods in regions where resources are scarce. And in Peru, there are more than 4000 varieties of Peruvian potatoes. And to this day new varieties continue to be discovered. No matter what type of flavors, colors, and preparation you prefer, there is a Peruvian potato that you will love without a doubt. They are included in a wide variety of traditional dishes. Even many fusion food dishes have this delicious ingredient.
MORE THAN A MEAL
Potatoes are much more than a characteristic food of Peru. They are certainly hearty and delicious, but they are also an important part of our Peruvian heritage. Biodiversity in Peru is not the only thing you will see in our country. There is also a great variety of potatoes unique to Peru. Farmers and local communities grow a great variety and diversity of potatoes. All in an attempt to preserve our historic local traditions. Many special types of potatoes are marketed and given away among Peruvian communities. Some of these potato varieties are very special in Peru. They are even usually wedding gifts or other objects of honor.
In celebrations such as the Pachamama Raymi, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and other tubers are also offered as an offering. And not only this but potatoes are also used as holistic remedies and medicines. They are said to have medicinal properties to relieve headaches and treat skin irritations. It has also been used as a popular anti-aging tool with skincare. And, of course, potatoes can be used to make compounds like flour or alcohol! So you can not only enjoy them as delicious food.
VARIETIES OF POTATOES IN PERU
There is indeed a great variety of potatoes in Peru, but there are too many to list here. With more than 4,000 known varieties, it would take a long time. But it is undeniable that some of them are particularly popular in Peruvian gastronomy and its great traditions. And because of this, we have listed some of the most popular varieties of Peruvian potatoes. Whether for their colors, shapes, and textures, these potatoes stand out in a great way within the Andean world.
- Papa Blanca: It is one of the best-known Peruvian potatoes. It is characterized by being white, firm, and with a slightly pale white tone.
- Papa Huaryo: One of the tastiest Peruvian potatoes. It is often used to add consistency and flavor to dishes.
- Papa Amarilla: These Peruvian potatoes are quite soft, mushy, and grainy when cooked. They are generally used in soups or the famous dish known as Causa.
- Papa Huamantanga: A white and fleshy potato with a texture very similar to that of the yellow potato. Being firmer, they are used commonly in stews.
- Papa Púrpura: This is one of the Peruvian potatoes known as the Jewel of the Andes. This potato when cooked changes to a slightly blue hue. It was highly appreciated in the time of the Incas, being consumed by royalty.
- Papa Peruanita: It is a potato with multi-colored skin. It is one of the most popular Peruvian potatoes among Peruvians.
- Papa Tarmeña: Very similar to the Peruvian potato. It is also often used in dishes such as Causa.
- Papa Cóctel: This is one of the Peruvian potatoes with a fairly intense flavor. It can be reminiscent of white potatoes. They are so tasty on their own and are part of a vibrant potato salad.
- Papa Rosada: It is also known as Papa Canchan. It has a characteristic pinkish skin and a white interior.
- Papa Perricholi: This is one of the Peruvian potatoes that was discovered relatively recently. It is white and sweet.
It is worth mentioning that some potatoes go through processes that help give a unique and characteristic flavor. While other tubers are part of the potato families but are not considered as such. But these varieties deserve to be mentioned as they are included in traditional Peruvian food.
Chuño: These potatoes go through the dehydration and freeze-drying process. They are a traditional ingredient in the Andean and Quechua communities. This food has been eaten since before the time of the Incas. To make them, the locals leave several potatoes on the ground or the roof of their houses. They are left overnight to freeze in cold temperatures. During the day, when the sun is shining, the locals trample them and strip them of water and skin. Chuño can be eaten alone or with other soup and stew dishes. It has great benefits.
Oca: This is a brightly colored tuber that often competes with Peruvian potatoes. This tuber has similar properties and benefits, but it is in a category of its own. The crop originally comes from the high Peruvian Andes and was enjoyed by ancient cultures. You can find the Goose in pink, red, white, or orange colors. It is usually very crunchy and has an unmistakable sweetness that most people love.
Camote: The sweet potato or Camote is also known as Batata. Despite being very similar to their salty counterparts, they do not belong to the same family as potatoes. Regardless, the Sweet Potato has been part of the Peruvian culture for thousands of years. They have even been identified in ancient Peruvian ceramics. You can find the Sweet Potato in different sizes and shapes. A delicacy that has become very popular around the world.
“WHAT SMALL POTATOES WE ALL ARE, COMPARED WITH WHAT WE MIGHT BE!”
We hope this article on Peruvian potatoes has helped you learn about some of the varieties. With more than 4,000 native potatoes in our country, it is not surprising that most of our dishes include them. But as we mentioned earlier, the potato is much more than food. It is part of our extensive culture and tradition. The Machu Travel Peru team hopes they have been helpful. If you want to know more about what Peru has to offer, you can consult with our qualified advisors. We will be waiting for your soon visit to Peru.