Chuño and tunta; The traditional andean sun-dried potatoes

J. Mauricio Peñarrieta, K. Juan Antonio Alvarado, José A. Bravo, Björn Bergenståhl

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

8 Scopus citations


It is believed that the chuño and tunta procedures, sun drying while allowing the potato to freeze, were introduced by the population of the Andean highlands between 2000 and 3000 years ago. There are clear evidences that the methods were employed during the pre-tiwanakan Chiripa culture period (aprox. 400 B.C.) when potato growing was the base of the agriculture in the Lake Titicaca western region (presently Bolivia and Perú). The production of potato was one the most important targets for the "sukakollos", a system of irrigation trenches surrounding the flat cultivation beds providing them with a mild micro-climate during cold nights providing frost protection . The transformation of potato into "chuño" (black sun-dried potato) and "tunta" (white sun-dried potato) gave the community the possibility to store crops over the seasons. Chuño and tunta during the times have been and are currently widely used in traditional cooking in the Andean region. Due to their historical and cultural, and indeed economical importance, these products deserved a scientific approach regarding their chemical composition and nutritional worth. For example, after decoction of chuño it has been found that it possesses high contents of some minerals such as calcium and iron. Also a slight to moderate loss of antioxidants namely phenolic compounds in comparison with fresh potatoes has been previously reported. Thus, these products can be considered as a source of nutrients and antioxidants. However, most of the available scientific information about these products is published in the Spanish language. This fact makes difficult the diffusion of the qualities of these foods overseas. On the other hand, it is necessary to further investigate them as an alternative component for healthy diets.This chapter presents a thorough review of the existing literature, both in English and Spanish, on chuño and tunta, with respect to their nutritional and chemical properties and their applications as food ingredients in the Andean cuisine.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPotatoes
Subtitle of host publicationProduction, Consumption and Health Benefits
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9781621007036
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


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