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Amarilla Tumbay Potatoes
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Amarilla Tumbay potatoes are the tubers of small, compact leafy bushes that produce little white flowers. They are small and measure around 5 to 6 centimeters in diameter. They are roughly round and slightly knobby. The skin is a light brown with deep divots and deep red eyes. The firm flesh is an intense yellow and has a smooth texture. They have a rich flavor and a buttery texture when cooked.
Amarilla Tumbay potatoes are available in the fall months.
Amarilla Tumbay potatoes are an Andean variety of Solanum tuberosum. They are part of the phureja (or goniocalyx) group and are one of many different varieties of papas amarilla, or yellow potato. Tumbay potatoes grow in the high altitudes of the Peruvian Andes and have been cultivated since Incan times. They are one of the more common varieties and are popular in terms of taste and use. They are processed into Latin American commercial products like potato chips and wedge-cut fries.
Amarilla Tumbay potatoes are rich in fiber, vitamin A, and are high in carotenoids, the compounds that give the tubers their intense yellow-colored flesh. They contain iron, potassium and phosphorus. Amarilla Tumbay potatoes have a very low moisture content, giving them a high content of dry matter. This provides more nutritional value and makes them more easily digestible.
Amarilla Tumbay potatoes will not hold their shape when cooked, so are not ideal for baking, sautéing or using for potato salads. They overcook very easily. The ancient tubers can be found in pachamanca, the traditional, Peruvian earthen oven cooked meals. They are most often steamed or parboiled in their skins, cooled, peeled, and mashed for a variety of dishes. The smashed potatoes are used for “papas rellenos,” or mashed potato stuffed with a traditional mix of minced meats or fish, olives, hard boiled eggs, or vegetables and cheese, then pan fried. They are also used for “causa Limeña”, stacked layers of mashed potato, fish or chicken, and vegetables like avocado, onions, chiles, served cold on hot summer days. Whole, peeled potatoes can be cut into wedges, parboiled and fried for Peruvian-style fries. Store Amarilla Tumbay potatoes in a cool, dry place for up to a month.
Papas Amarillas are very popular in Peru, not only for their taste but also their nutritional value. According to some local growers, the Amarilla Tumbay potato is “The Queen” of Peruvian yellow potatoes. In May, the town of Huanuco celebrates the annual Festival de la Papa Amarilla. The festivities honor the rich agricultural traditions of the Andean Mountains and the different potatoes that have been cultivated there for thousands of years.
Amarilla Tumbay potatoes are native to the central coastal region of Peru, high up in the Andes Mountains. There are several different varieties of Tumbay potatoes, including white-fleshed varieties. They date back to pre-Colombian times and originated in an area nearly 14,000 feet above sea level, in the highland Andean towns of Junin, Cerro de Pasco, and Huanuco. Huanuco was once a regional center for the Incan civilization that later became a Spanish center for missionary activity and people seeking independence from Spain. Today Amarilla Tumbay potatoes are also cultivated in Lima District on the coast for the local and commercial markets. Amarilla Tumbay can be found in the mercados of central coastal and inland Peru and on a more limited scale in neighboring Bolivia and Brazil.
Recipes that include Amarilla Tumbay Potatoes. One is easiest, three is harder.
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