Andean tuber crops such as oca, olluco and mashua are among the numerous valuable species inherited from our ancestors. These constitute one of the food bases on the Andean inhabitant and in many cases are a substitute to potatoes.
Olluco, after potatoes, is the tuber most appreciated by the consumers of the large coastal cities.
The Potato Research Program of the National Agrarian University (UNALM), maintains and evaluates morphotypes of these three Andean tuber crops that were collected in the Departments of Ancash, Apurimac, Ayacucho, Huanuco and Junin.
OCA (Oxalis tuberosa Moll)
The collection is composed by 76 entries out of which 10 excel because of their high production capacity.
It is eaten in either of two ways: fresh and dehydrated. Fresh tubers are exposed to sun to increase sweetness and then cooked. Dehydrated is eaten as "Chaya" or "Uma chaya" that is prepared in a similar process to "mallullu.
Also, it is used for pastry and making jelly. The stems are good fodder for cattle and horses.
OLLUCO(Ullucos tuberosus Caldas)
The collection is composed by 215 entries out of which 22 excel because of their high production capacity.
This species is the most wide spread among the consumers of the coastal region. It is eaten in two ways: fresh and dehydrated. In the latter form is used as "chuño" (tubers are subjected to successive frosts, washing, and then, dried). The product in known as "lingly", "shilgui" and "mallullu".
MASHUA (Tropaeolum tuberosum)
Morphologic tuber characteristics permitted to separate 65 entries that were placed in six groups of which "zapallo" (pumpkin) and "zanahoria" (carrot) were the most conspicuous.
Fresh consumption also requires cooking and sun exposure. It is recommended for people with liver and kidney problems. Also, it has anti-aphrodisiac properties.
Also, mashua tubers are eaten after freezing, washing and drying to obtain a product called "Tcayacha". It is a good fodder for pigs.
CHEMICAL TUBER COMPOSITION