Colombian Nevada Potatoes
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Colombian Nevada potatoes are small to medium tubers with a compact, round to oval shape. The skin’s surface is semi-smooth, thin, and taut with a cream-colored base, covered in small brown markings. The skin also bears medium-set eyes with pink-red patches, sometimes giving the tubers a lopsided or indented appearance. Underneath the surface, the ivory flesh is dense, slippery, and firm with a waxy texture, containing high moisture and moderate starch levels. Colombian Nevada potatoes develop a soft and tender consistency when cooked and have a mild, earthy, and subtly nutty flavor.
Colombian Nevada potatoes are available year-round.
Nevada potatoes, botanically classified as Solanum tuberosum, are a native Colombian variety belonging to the Solanaceae or nightshade family. There are over 800 varieties of potatoes grown in Colombia, widely varying in size, flavor, and shape, and the diverse tubers have been cultivated as a staple food source among indigenous populations for thousands of years. Colombian Nevada potatoes were first discovered in some of the coldest and highest elevation towns within the Andes mountains. The Colombian name for the variety, Papas Nevada, roughly translates from Spanish to mean “snowy potatoes” and is a descriptor given in reference to its cold native region. Colombian Nevada potatoes are a popular local variety in Colombia for the tuber’s resistance to diseases and pests, high yields, and extended storage capabilities. The potatoes are also valued in culinary applications for their firm texture with the ability to hold their shape in heating.
Colombian Nevada potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that strengthens the immune system and reduces inflammation. The tubers also provide potassium to balance fluid levels within the body, magnesium to lower blood pressure, phosphorus to build strong bones and teeth, and contain lower amounts of iron and B vitamins. In Colombian folk medicine, water infused with potato peels is sometimes used as a topical anti-inflammatory for the skin.
Colombian Nevada potatoes must be cooked and have a firm, dense texture best suited for boiling, baking, roasting, or deep-frying. The tubers can be eaten with their skins on or removed, and they can be boiled whole in salted water and served as a simple side dish. Colombian Nevada potatoes can also be quartered and tossed into soups and stews, boiled and sliced into potato salads, or cut and baked into gratins. In Colombia, Nevada potatoes are popularly cooked into French fries, sliced and baked into chips, or boiled and covered in creamy avocado-based sauces. They are also sometimes used in papas chorreadas, boiled potatoes in a cheesy sauce, or lapingachos, a fried potato cake topped with a peanut sauce. Colombian Nevada potatoes pair well with spices such as cumin, chile powder, and paprika, roasted meats, including steak, poultry, and pork, avocado, tomatoes, spinach, and herbs such as parsley, mint, and cilantro. Whole, uncut Colombian Nevada potatoes will keep 3 to 4 weeks when stored in a cool, dry, and dark location.
In the town of La Union in the department of Antioquia, Colombia, an annual potato festival is held to celebrate the importance of the tuber as a food source and economic crop. The week-long event is typically held at the end of June and features magic shows, dancing, contests, live music, and movies in the town square. Antioquia is a northwestern department known for being one of the top potato cultivation regions in Colombia. Potatoes are mostly grown in the towns situated in the Andes Mountains, and the tubers are a vital food and energy source, being one of the only crops used for every meal of the day. The potato festival was created to honor the tubers as the largest source of income for La Union residents, and the event also encourages increased tourism to boost the economy. One of the main activities during the festival is attending the annual street parade, where floats depicting women working in potato fields are led down the street, representing the town’s rich cultural history.
Colombian Nevada potatoes are native to the Andean highlands of Colombia and have been cultivated by indigenous populations since ancient times. In the modern-day, the variety has remained localized to Colombia and is mainly produced in cold, high elevation regions of the departments of Narino and Antioquia. Colombian Nevada potatoes can be found through local markets and are sometimes grown in home gardens within Colombia.
Recipes that include Colombian Nevada Potatoes. One is easiest, three is harder.