My Peru - A Guide to the Culture and Traditions of the Andean Communities of Peru

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Gallery > Villages / Communities: Chinchero - Preparing Chuño


Preparing Chuño - Chinchero 22 July 2007

In the preparation of chuño negro potatoes are spread out evenly on the ground and exposed to freezing temperatures during the night. During the day the potatoes thaw out. This freeze-thaw cycle is repeated over a period of 4 or 5 days until the potatoes become soft and mushy.. The potatoes are then trampled bare-foot to squeeze out the juice. Eventually the potatoes become dehydrated in the sun and they can be stored. The potatoes can then be used throughout the year, mainly in soups and stews. The Chuño was so precious to the Inca that it was used as currency and collected as tribute and a staple used by Inca soldiers.

Nutritionally, the potato supplies complex carbohydrates essential for energy and a very low amount (about 10 percent) of protein. One serving (a 5.3-ounce medium potato) provides: 45 percent of Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) for vitamin C (most of it in the millimetres-thick layer immediately under the skin), 21 percent of potassium, 3 grams of fibre, essentially no fat, and only 100 calories. It is rich in the minerals iron and magnesium and supplies all the vital nutrients except calcium and vitamins A and D.







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