Morado corn has been cultivated since the pre-Hispanic era and was known in the past as kully sara or chinco sara. It is cultivated at altitudes ranging from 2,500 to 3,600 meters above sea level. Its cob, which is purple, contains anthocyanins, cyanide and glucose in larger quantities in the cob than in the individual kernels. Anthocyanins have a particular health value, as they are antioxidant and helpful in managing blood pressure.
Morado corn is used to prepare a well-fermented chicha (corn beer), which is quite strong, moderately sweet but alcoholic just the same, that is usually drunk during hard work like the minka (a word from the Quechua language that means an organized group for collective work) or the ayni (which also means a collaborative effort in agricultural or construction work).
But Morada corn can also be a simple refreshing drink consumed with pineapple, cinnamon and lemon juice that is normally offered to house guests. When Morado corn flour has anise, quinoa flour and fruit added to it, it becomes a very tasty bread that is given to children.
On the other hand, lemiña is a widespread dessert throughout the country that is made with morado corn flour, rice and milk. Fondness for this dessert is such that it has been defined as “limeño mazamorrero”, or “dessert from Lima”, which gained popularity thanks to Peruvian author Ricardo Palma’s famous book “Tradiciones Peruanas”.
This grain is at risk of extinction in the Choquecancha community as well as others throughout the country, as competition from genetically improved corn for commercial purposes is very tough.