Arracacha

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The arracacha (arracacia zanthorrhiza) is a root that is native to the Andes that can still be found in various towns in Peru and Colombia. Cultivated since the era of the Incas as a restorative food, and also a fundamental ingredient in local cuisine, today the product’s consumption in Peru is limited to the area’s where it is produced: the Salas district of the Lambayeqe department, while elsewhere people have almost entirely forgotten about its existence.

The leaves are similar to parsley, with a dark green or purple color. The roots resemble wide, short carrots that are a dirty white color while the pulp is usually white, yellow (arracacha amarilla) or violet (arracacha morada).

The rural community San Mateo de Penachí cultivates and harvests this root from August to October and has passed the knowledge of the product’s nutritional values, which are much greater than those of common potatoes, from generation to generation. Rich in vitamins, proteins and minerals, this root is a valid alternative to meat as well as an excellent food that helps the immunity system and acts as an antioxidant. The roots cannot be eaten raw, and as such is traditionally boiled and served with cheese, rice, mashed potatoes and soups. At times it is even served for desert, sweetened with honey and papayas.

It is an ingredient in savory dishes like the “torrejas” (a fried dough made from grated arracacha, garlic, flour and eggs). Flour can be made by drying and mashing the roots, and the starch is also edible.

In the Cauca region of Colombia, where cultivation is still wide spread, families are progressively transforming their fields of this product into coffee plantations or they grow normal potatoes, which is why the younger generations are slowly forgetting the very existence of this root.

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Territory

StateColombiaPeru
Region

Cauca

Lambayeque

Other info

Categories

Vegetables and vegetable preserves

Indigenous community:Saleña, Guanacos, Paeces
Nominated by:Jesùs Maria Polanco Arias, Fredy Antonio Palmito Huila, Maria Fernandez Poquis e Carlos Wilfredo Diaz Linares del Convivium Muchik de Lambayeque