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La Papa

La Papa, The potato is a tuber which originates in the Andes- in Southern Peru and Northern Bolivia. The domestication of the potato is thought to have begun somewhere in Peru’s central region. The cultivated potato originates from the wild species diploid Sleptophyes of around 10,000 to 7,000 years ago. Month’s star product.

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Along the Cordillera of theAndes,which runs from the Southwest of the USA, via Mexico, Central America and South America, there are 188 species of wild potatoes and eight cultivated species. Of the 188 wild species, Peru has 94, with half of these found in the high plains around Lake Titicaca. The cultivated species are also found in this region. It is for this reason that scientists place the center of origin of the potato on the plateau of the Collao, around Lake Titicaca. That is to say, the longer a crop remains in a certain area, the greater its genetic diversity will become. By identifying the area of greatest diversity, it can be assumed that the crop was there longer than in any other part of the world and therefore originated there.

The first traces of potato date back to over 8,000 years and were found during excavations carried out in the vicinity of the village of Chilca, in Southern Lima, in 1976.

Native potatoes have been preserved for centuries in the Andes using traditional farming techniques. They form an intrinsic part of the culture and Peru has around 70. 000 hectares planted with native potatoes. The potato has been represented in ceramics from Peruvian Moche culture (100 – 600 BC).

“The potato is the best gift that the New World has given to the old”

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The potato arrived at Spain between the years 1565 and 1570, but it is not yet known who brought it, or from where. From Spain, It later spread to Portugal, Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland on the European continent, and from there, to the rest of the world.

It is most likely that the potato arrived in England in 1590. It adapted easily to Scotland and Ireland, but in later years, crops were completely destroyed by the fungus Phytophthora infestans, causing famine and indescribable misery.

The colonies of North America, first received the potato from Bermuda in 1621, after it had been  imported from England in 1613 .

The domestication of the potato was supplemented with the process of dehydration of tubers, to get the “chuñu” or chuño (dry potato). To do this, two essential elements of the climate of the Highlands were used. Firstly, night temperatures up to- 20  ° C were exploited to freeze. The tubers which  are stored in cold and dry soil during the winter (June -August).

Potatoes  as a product per 100g contain, 78g. moisture; 18.5g. of starch and rich in potassium (560 mg) and vitamin C (20 mg).

•             Genus : Solanum
•             Family : Solanáceas
•             Especie : Solanum tuberosum

The Andean Altiplano (High Plains from between 1,500 to 4,000 meters) where the potato was first domesticated, is the main centre for biodiversity conservation.

The 30th of May is the National Day of the Potato in Peru.

The United Nations declared 2008 the International Year of Potato.

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The International Potato Center, known by its acronym CIP, was founded in 1971 as a research institution for the development of roots and tubers and sustainable solutions to the pressing problems of hunger, poverty and the degradation of the world’s natural resources. CIP is truly a global center. It is based in Lima, Peru, and has offices in 30 developing countries throughout Asia, Africa and Latin America. Working closely with their partners, CIP seeks to achieve food security, improved well-being and gender equality for the poor in the developing world. CIP promotes its mission through rigorous research, innovation in science and technology. It also does so through the capacity strengthening of tuber and root food systems and agriculture.

Thanks to such projects, we can explore more and more varieties of this diverse and nutritious product; whether this be in the fields, markets or at the table in the form of one of the hundreds delicious dishes offered by Peruvian cuisine, Buen Provecho!

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Lima Tasty Tours, Lima, Peru
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Barranco - Lima
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