Today, you are going to learn How To Make Chuno, the Inca survival food. Most preppers and outdoorsmen would never think of South America and potatoes as a survival food. However, chunos are most certainly an important part of the subject and made possible due to the ingenuity of Peru’s Inca civilization and the versatility of a lowly little spud.
Chuño is a freeze-dried potato product that is traditionally made by the Aymara and Quechua communities of Peru and Bolivia. They are well known in various countries of South America, including Chile, Bolivia, Peru and Argentina. Making chunos is a five-day process and is made by exposing a frost-resistant variety of potatoes to the freezing night temperatures of the Andean Altiplano, freezing the potatoes and then exposing them to the intense heat of the day which is the traditional Incan process.
The word Chuño comes from the Quechua ch’uñu meaning “frozen potato” or ‘wrinkled’ in the dialects of the Junín Region. Even to this day, potatoes are transformed into a long lasting, versatile survival food called Chuños. This is done by using a method that is the forefather to modern freeze drying we use today. I bet you never realized that some of the food you eat are preserved by using ancient old processes just like you are about to learn today.
These centuries old methods of keeping food did not originate in a sterile environment. These methods were born hundreds of years ago on high mountainsides in ice cold freezing temperatures. The reason being is that the Inca’s wanted to preserve their food just in case there were failed crops or if hunting became scarce. What these people invented was a method that could preserve foods like chunos for decades. This process can be used for starchy foods and root vegetables as well.
Bizarre Foods Chuños (Bolivia Nov 2007) – How To Make Chuno The Inca Survival Food
You can see how chuno is made for yourself in the amazing short video above. It’s like taking a trip back in time to the Inca civilization itself. You’ll see the same methods used by the Inca’s still being used today. The potato farmer in the video makes it look so easy as you’ll see shortly. Go ahead and watch the video and then I’ll go over each step of the process below. I will be showing you how to make chunos just like the Inca’s did it. The only difference is you’ll be making chunos in your kitchen and not on top of a mountain.
I really hoped you enjoyed the video as much as I did. I’d love to visit Bolivia and hang out with that farmer for a day. What a wonderful man he seems to be. I’m sure that you noticed that his lama stew Chuno Recipe. The great thing about chunos is it could easily be reconstituted with water to create delicious nourishing meals just like in the video. When properly stored, chunos or other similarly preserved foods could last for years.
The Inca Indians were way ahead of their time when it came to agriculture and food preservation. Along with their freeze drying technique for chunos, they also understood the concept of freezing foods. They also used the sun and the air for drying fish, meats and other edibles as well. Salt was very abundant near the coastlines and was used for seasoning and curing as well. Runners from various cultures served as messengers and early day delivery men of like a UPS delivery driver without the truck.
Methods of improved food production and preservation could be shared with other tribes across the vast region. Increased productivity and their improved abilities to survive during times of famine were all due in part in their ability to share this valuable knowledge among the tribes. The chuno is an Andean word that means “wrinkle” or El Chuno as it is called which is the result of preserving the potato through dehydration.
We assume that this name was due to the appearance that the potatoes take on during the process which I will explain to you as we go though each step. Make sure you save this page to your favorites so that you can make your own chunos. This process is not nearly as hard as you may think plus you are afforded all of the modern kitchen appliances so you can do this in the comfort of your home.
Selection of Potatoes
It is extremely important that your potatoes are as similar in size and shape as possible to the potatoes selected for this demonstration. If you do NOT select similar sized potatoes, you will not get the same results. I got these instructions from a book called The Lost Ways written by Claude Davis. For this recipe Claude selected potatoes whose total weight is 750 grams. Your potatoes should be approximately the size of a baseball.
Step #1. Freeze First
Now that you’ve gathered your potatoes, it’s time to make some chunos. The first step in the process is to freeze your potatoes. In the past, The Incas make chuno would by placing the potatoes outside to freeze during a snow fall. Lucky for us, we don’t have to do this because we have refrigerators so freezing them is a whole lot easier for us today.
However, during the process we will still be using the Inca traditional method of drying the potatoes which I will explain as we go along. As seen in the image above, place your potatoes in a large bowl and put them in your freezer for 24 hours.
Step #2. Place In The Sun
After 24 hours, take your potatoes out of the freezer. You need to place directly in the sun when it’s at its most intense. Ten to seventeen hours is recommended then express. You will notice that your potatoes will begin to appear “wrinkled” (which is precisely what the term chuno means). You should also notice that the texture of the potatoes will become soft.
This is the point in the process where you must gently squeeze the potatoes in order to extract as much water as possible. You will also notice additional wrinkling to the potatoes and they will be significantly reduced in size as well. This is how you’ll know if you are doing everything correctly.
Step #3. Refreeze
Now that you have dried your potatoes in the sun and squeezed the excess water out of them. It’s time to put your potatoes back in the freezer again for the same amount of time as you did in step #1, which is 24 hours.
Step #4. Repeat In The Sun
In this step you will remove your potatoes from your freezer and place them back in the sun. This time you will do it at the same time and during the same time period. Unlike the last time, you will notice how the skin of the potatoes begins to become easy to remove. As you can see in the image, your potatoes will continue to decrease in size and where the skin has already begun to separate. As this process continues, the potatoes will also begin to darken as you can see below.
Step #5. Let Harden
Once you have frozen and sunbathed your potatoes twice, it’s time to peel the potatoes completely and squeeze them as hard as you can in order to remove any excess moisture that may still remain.
As they finish drying, you’ll notice that they will become very hard and dark. At this stage of the process, your potatoes will have already lost two thirds of their original size. This is because your potatoes have already lost all of the water they contained during the process.
As you can see in the image to the right, even though the potatoes selected for this process went from weighing 750 grams to now weighing a mind blowing 250 grams. Since all of these potatoes were selected uniformly, you can clearly see, they all still remain similar sizes between them. They went from baseball sized to about the size of a golfball.
The method being used here is to preserve food in a prolonged way so that the potatoes go through this process until becoming chunos. They can be stored almost anywhere as long as you place them in a dry place free of humidity. It is estimated that the time of preservation in indefinite. Some survivalists say that chunos can last many, many years but it is strongly recommended to NEVER NEVER NEVER exceed 12 months.
I’m sure that you will agree that this and other food preservation techniques are a testament to human ingenuity in the face of our own mortality. I think it is extremely important to learn these skills and to pass them down to our children and great grandchildren as well. Learning skills like these will ensure that the inventions of our forefathers will never be lost to time. Making chunos is a simple process and only takes a fews days thanks to modern day conveniences.
There are many dishes you can make with chunos such as the lama stew in the video above. Remember, all you have to do is add water to your chunos to reconstitute them to make some of the most nourishing and delicious meals you’ve ever tasted or if you had to survive the aftermath of a disaster. You could eat the chunos by themselves and use them as a survival food. It’s not very tasty that way but it will keep you and your family alive. Well, that’s really all there is to it!
Now You Know How To Make Chuño The Inca Way!
Chuno is just one of many survival foods that you can learn how to make inside The Lost Ways. This FANTASTIC book is written by Claude Davis who is a best selling author and Wild West Historian. The method you learned today is right of out of this best selling book. I wanted to share this method with you because knowledge is power. Every chapter inside this AMAZING book is more powerful than the next!
The Lost Ways is a book about survival and American History as well. You will be taken back to a time before there was electricity, roads and all the modern convinces that we all take for granted today. These are not just harrowing tales of American Pioneers surviving a wild, unpredictable and hostile frontier. The Lost Ways Book is a blueprint on how they did it! I consider The Lost Ways to be the owners manual to North America.
Inside this book are survival skills lost to us generations ago. Claude has perfectly preserved these skills for us and beautifully explains each skill step-by-step with color illustrations. You just got an example of one of these wonderful chapters here today. You will learn how to make other survival foods such as Native American pemmican and Hardtack which fed both the Confederate and Union Armies during the American Civil War. You will learn the same exact skills our forefathers used to build the greatest country ever known.
The Lost Ways Book is a National Treasure and should be in every American household. The skills inside this book should be taught in every school and passed down to every generation. Click on the link below and I’ll introduce you to this MUST HAVE book chapter by chapter. Now that you know How To Make Chuno. Go ahead and give it a try. Please come back and let me know how it turns out. If you have any questions, leave them below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. I’ll see you on the next page!
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