In this frosty season that is lived in the months of (June to July), it is comforting to enjoy a delicious hot chairo soup, it’s good flavor, its color and its heat make us forget for a moment the cold weather that feels in the city of Cusco. The small pieces of crushed chuño that dance in this soup feel blessed in contact with the taste, since, apart from its delicious and incredible flavor, it has a high nutritional value for the human body.
Many people in Peru are unaware of the pleasant flavor and nutritional properties of chuño, this ancestral food from the Andean highlands, is like honey for the palate of people who already know it, it can be consumed in soups, seconds, desserts or simply boiled accompanied of a piece of cheese, it is really a delight.
From the entire potato harvest, the Andean farmer first separates potatoes as seed for the coming year, then they separate fresh potatoes for immediate consumption and what remains is reserved to make the chuño. This activity is carried out at altitudes above 3700 m.a.s.l.
Chuño is a food that has great sources of Calcium and Iron, all this is obtained from the process that the potato goes through for about 20 days, including drying, until it becomes chuño. Its development serves to eliminate all the alkaloids that the potato has and that give it a bitter taste, from its normal size of the potato in the process it is reduced by 70%. The product is obtained after freezing the potato overnight and dehydrating it by exposing it to the scorching rays of the sun.
Its chuño starch is a natural source of energy for the body and also helps protect the stomach lining, preventing gastritis and ulcers. It is an excellent food for all people who have problems with being overweight as it eliminates cholesterol.
For thousands of years, our ancestors in the Andes have naturally domesticated the bitter potato in a traditional way so that it can be preserved for decades and tastes good when eaten. His wisdom of how to take advantage of climate changes throughout the year and create techniques to retain your food products for longer, to be able to eat them in times of scarcity or war, is something that is still practiced today. Its origin is millenary, as old as that of the potato.
This product can be found for sale in all the traditional markets of Cusco, in the San Pedro market, Cascaparo, Wanchaq, etc, The chuño is present for sale all year round.
So, the consumption of this Andean superfood is the best that people can do, it’s great nutritional value, its accessibility, since it is not an expensive product, and the diversity of dishes that can be prepared with chuño.