The Incas and Food

The most important food to the Incas was the potato.  It was so important that some of the people used it to describe time.  Instead of saying that they would "see someone in an hour", instead they would say "see you in three cooked potatoes."

Today in the United States we grow about 250 types of potatoes, with only about 20 being very common.  The Incas grew 3,000 different types of potatoes.  They learned how to store potatoes for up to 6 years.

They also used to dry meat they called "charqui".  This lent its name to the dried meat we call "beef jerky".

Being able to store food or dry it was crucial to the Incas because some years a portion or all of their crops would be lost to cold or to drought.

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