Lost Crops of the Incas

Lost Crops of the Incas

Everyone seemed to enjoy the Lost Crops of Africa so much, I thought I’d mention another treasure from the National Research Council: Lost Crops of the Incas (published in 1989). This book is an excellent resource for anyone interested in ethnobotany and heirloom varieties, whether for research, study or growing purposes, but especially for farmers and gardeners in Latin-, Central- and Caribbean-America region!

Like Lost Crops of Africa, the purpose of Lost Crops of the Incas is to remind us of the existence of little-known (at least in the “developed” nations) crops native to Latin-, Central-, and Caribbean-America and to outline their potential for expanding and diversifying food supplies in those regions and around the world. The materials are interesting and well organized.  Each crop mentioned is illustrated with photos and drawings, plus growing, harvesting and handling information, as well as an index. There are also “boxes” containing additional material about individual crops, which make it easy to browse for information. The crops covered include:

Roots and Tubers:
Achira
Ahipa
Arracacha
Maca
Mauka
Oca
Potatoes
Ulluco
Yacon

Grains:
Kaniva
Kiwicha
Quinoa

Legumes:
Basul
Nunas (popping beans)
Terwi

Vegetables:
Peppers
Squashes and their relatives

Fruits:
 Berries
Cherimoya
Goldenberry (Cape Gooseberry)
Highland Papayas
Lucuma
Naranjilla (lulo)
Pacay (ice-cream Beans – yes, it’s a thing and now don’t you want to grow some?)
Passionfruit
Pepino
Tamarillo (tree tomato)

Nuts:
Quito palm
Walnuts

In addition to the crop information, there are selected readings, information on centers of Andean crop research, and research contacts. Altogether, this is an enjoyable and useful source of information on native food varieties for everyone, and like it’s sister publication, IT’S FREE!!

To view and download this publication for through the National Academies Press, go to

https://www.nap.edu/catalog/1398/lost-crops-of-the-incas-little-known-plants-of-the

Enjoy!

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