|Amazonas Imports, Inc. is pleased to introduce unusual foods from the highlands of Latin America as well as from the Amazon rainforest. The Incas (Peru), Mayas (Guatemala), and Aztecas (Mexico) ate many unique foods with high nutritional value, that have been practically forgotten or lost by modern civilization.
The Rediscovered Lost Crops
Thanks to the Andean and Amazon civilizations, the descendants of these cultures have preserved this valuable genetic material. It is amazing to visit the local markets with their people selling the marvelous, exotic fruit, roots, potatoes, vegetables, nuts, cereals, seeds, etc. The flavors, colors, aromas, textures and fragrances surprise even the most traveled people. The nutritional value for many of these foods is very good and the future generations could learn a good lesson for their food supply.
The Inca (Peru) empire, one of the most advanced cultures of Latin America, covered what is known today as Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia and Chile. Only looking at the ruins of Macchu Picchu near Cuzco, PERU, one can appreciate their advancement and knowledge of their times.
They cultivated Quinua and Kiwicha cereals, which are well known for their high protein and amino acid nutritional value. They grew vegetables that were never before known. These grains were the main protein source, together with llama and vicuna meat, also known for their low content of saturated fat.
The many colors of tubers, olluco, oca, mashua, is so fascinating, that after tasting them you may think you are eating vegetable candy. The special variety of fruit filled with vitamins A,B,C include: Pepino, Papaya, Lucuma, Mamey, Chirimoya, Guanabana, Naranjilla, Araza, Tuna, Kaki, Guayaba, Maracuya, Mora, Granadilla and others.
The exotic grains from the regions have very special colors and flavors such as:
- Canary Beans from Peru, which are yellow colored and unique flavor compared to most traditional beans known in the USA.
- The Giant Cuzco Corn for Toasting is especially tasty and unusual. When cooking them with very little oil, they make a popping sound similar to our popcorn, but the grain does not open or flower.
- The Giant Cuzco Hominy Corn is similar to corn nuts, but can be prepared with very little or no oil to reduce fat and cholesterol.
- Especially unique is the Purple Corn on the cob, used to prepare a natural and vitamin enriched drink. The natural flavor and color from the cob makes a famous punch called Chicha Morada.
- The many colors and varieties of Potatoes deserve special admiration. Purple, red, yellow, white, rose, transparent, black, and others are truly remarkable. Recently in the USA some of these colored potatoes are being introduced. Potatoes were discovered in Peru many centuries ago, and the Incas used all types of potatoes as a regular part of their diet. They ate them fresh and preserved them by freezing or drying them, without modern technology.
- The chili peppers are in abundance in the Latin American diets. All types of flavors, heat strengths, fragrances are consumed. One famous and very spicy pepper is the Rocoto pepper. This Rocoto pepper is the only chili pepper with black seeds.
- The Red Panca Pepper is especially tasty for our traditional basting or barbeque sauces.
- The Yellow Hot Pepper from Peru is also very famous and delicious when added to any food. The long pepper is a yellow-orange color and used with all types of food.
- Other herbs that are indigenous to the Central or South American regions are also gaining notoriety. Huacatay is an herb that adds a special flavor to any dish, with its strong aroma and flavor.
The Aztecs and Mayans also have their own indigenous crops with extensive varieties of beans, grains, spices, chili peppers, etc. Corn is known as a staple food in these regions and available in many varieties and flavors. The Chili Peppers, include well known types as ancho, jalapeno, cascabel, pasilla, serrano, pequin, guajillo, chipotle, etc.
The list of Fruit and Vegetables is also extensive, including: guayaba, guava, nance, tomatillo del arbol, ayote, chang, maranon.