Posts Tagged ‘Peru’

Purple Corn Drink: The Next Big Superfood

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

We’ve been promoting purple corn drink for some time. What’s known as chicha morada in peru, or simply “chicha”, is an antioxidant-rich drink. Antioxidants are believed to be beneficial since they can inhibit or slow down oxidation through the neutralization of free radicals and hence delay or prevent ageing as well as prevent certain diseases. Antioxidants can be found in the form of phenols and anthocyanins and it is these water soluble anthocyanins that are responsible for the purple-red colour of purple corn.

We’ve noticed that purple corn is starting to get noticed in the mainstream media. KABC, the ABC affiliate in Los Angeles recently ran a segment on chicha where they also point out the health benefits:

The blue corn contains anthocyanins, which is a plant chemical that is known to help fight the challenges of high-blood pressure and cholesterol…Studies on animals taking the extract of purple corn also found it helps regulate blood sugar and fat function as well.

Check out the segment for yourself:

Purple corn drink may be next big superfood

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Squeeze On Quinoa Supply?

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Quinoa in Bolivia

We’ve already touched on the surge in demand for quinoa as people, particularly in the west, become educated on the fantastic properties of this tiny seed (yes, technically quinoa is a seed, but it is often referred to as a grain!). It would be fair to say that quinoa is fast becoming a hit in North America as it lands on the shelves of mainstream grocers.

However, times aren’t so great for the world’s main exporter of quinoa. In Bolivia, drought and late freezes have halved output this year. We’ll be following up on this to see if and when it may affect wholesale prices. We source quinoa for food manufacturers from both Bolivia and Peru to help ensure a decent supply of this amazing seed that can be used in a multitude of food applications.

Watch more on the problems in Bolivia from Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Creative Commons License photo credit: einalem

A Mother’s Milk & A Seed From Peru

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

Quinoa consumption and production have exploded in recent years. The trend is reflected in search volume for Qunioa:

Quinoa Trend

According to Yahoo! News, Bolivia and Peru account for almost 97% of production. In Bolivia exports have risen from slightly over 1400 metric tons in 2000 to 14500 metric tons in 2009 with wholesale prices increasing 700% over the period. What is driving this huge demand? Quinoa is actually a seed, but not just any seed:

  • It provides 10 essential amino acids and is loaded with minerals.
  • It has a protein content between 14 and 18%.
  • It has been suggested that quinoa is the most perfect food for the human diet with the FAO (U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization) suggesting it can be substituted for mother’s milk – it is that nutritious.
  • Even though it’s a seed, it’s eaten like a grain. However, it is gluten-free and therefore more easily digestible.
  • It can be substituted for rice in almost any application.

The popularity of Quinoa is starting to impact the lives of those that produce it in South America. It is hoped that this new found demand will lift farmers out of poverty, with quinoa now considered a strategic crop in Bolivia, the world’s largest producer.

Read More:

    Purple Corn Juice

    Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

    Purple Corn

    The clamour for foods rich in antioxidants has propelled foods such as mangosteen, acai, pomegranate, goji, blueberries, enocianin, elderberries, red grapes into the spotlight. Not only are these foods antioxidant-rich – they are also mostly in the blue-purple hue. Antioxidants are active compounds that naturally occur in foods. These compounds are believed to benefit health since they can inhibit or slow down oxidation through the neutralization of free radicals hence, delay or prevent ageing as well as prevent certain diseases from happening. Antioxidants can be found in the form of phenols and anthocyanins.

    Anthocyanins are water-soluble blue plant pigments that are responsible for the purple-red colour spectrum in nature. Its high phenolic content means it is well equipped to provide safety against degenerative diseases.

    One “purple” which is starting to gain attention is purple corn (choclo morado). One potential application of purple corn is for beverages, and a fine example is the traditional Peruvian drink called chicha morada, also known as purple corn juice. It’s made with ears of purple corn boiled with pineapple rind, cinnamon, and clove. The resulting purple coloured liquid is then mixed with sugar and lemon. Besides being refreshing, it is also healthy since purple corn, like other “purples”, is rich in antioxidants. We provide purple corn extracts for food and beverage applications. If you like, you can try making some homemade purple corn juice yourself. Simply pick up some maiz morado and follow the directions in the video below!

    Pisco Sour

    Saturday, May 15th, 2010

    Here’s a delicious (adult) beverage we discovered when we were down in Peru sourcing innovative and unique ingredients for our clients – the pisco sour. The main ingredient is pisco, a South American brandy widely available in Peru and Chile.


    Pisco is a Peruvian liquor distilled from grapes. You can think of the pisco sour as the South American whiskey sour, and in fact, it shares the pairing of liquor with a sour citrus. The similarities end there. Recipes abound, however we tried to make it in the true Peruvian fashion.

    For the ingredients, we used:

    • Pisco (2 oz)
    • Lime juice (of about one whole lime)
    • Simple syrup (about a tablespoon)
    • 1 egg white
    • A dash of cinnamon

    Pisco Sour Ingredients

    The reality is that the proportions of ingredients is probably best done to taste, so consider the above a guideline to get you started. Adjust however you see fit, and don’t be afriad to experiment a little. Also, by rights you want to finish the cocktail off with a dash of angostura bitters. We didn’t have any around, so we substituted cinnamon, which we thought turned out rather well.

    To make the drink, put some ice in a cocktail shaker, add the pisco, lime juice, syrup and egg white. Seal the shaker and shake vigorously for twenty seconds or so. Strain the contents into a glass and top with a dash of cinnamon. Enjoy!

    Pisco Sour

    Here’s a video of the whole process!