Purple Corn - The Mythical Millenary Ingredient

The Peruvian cuisine holds a wide range of foods with a high nutritional value. In this blog, we will talk one ingredient that brings with it the greatest cultural heritage given by the natives: THE PURPLE CORN.

Natural from the Peruvian Andes, it’s unique in the world because of its characteristic purple grains. This color is produced by the anthocyanin, a powerful antioxidant that regenerates tissues, promotes blood flow and reduces cholesterol. It also promotes the formation of collagen, delays aging and prevents heart problems, hypertension and colon cancer.

We can see the sowing from August to October in the mountains, and from April to September on the coast at about 1,200-4,000 meters above sea level. The purple corn is an important element in the Peruvian culinary culture, to the point of finding it in ceramic objects of the Mochica Culture more than 2,500 years old. Although it is cultivated in Yucatan and some tribes in the United States, it is in Peru where its cultivation is more extensive.

Geographical location of sowing areas

There are different types of purple corn, but they all come from the "Kculli" class:

  • Canteño purple: native variety. Height 1.8-2.5m with flowering between 110 and 125 days.
  • Improved purple: for sowing in the Sierra Media or Central Coast. Height of approximately 2m. Flowering between 90 and 100 days
  • Caraz purple: for sowing in mountains
  • Arequipeño: the cob color is not intense.  Grows faster than the previous ones.
  • Cuzco purple: Takes longer to grow that the previously mentioned types. It is characterized by cobs with well-defined rows and large grains.
  • Junín Black: cultivated in Central and Southern Highlands, as well as in Arequipa.


It is also used to make chicha morada, a typical drink of this Andean country inherited from the ancient Peruvians.

If traveling to Peru in the month of October, you will enjoy the purple mazamorra dessert, very typical and one of the favorites during the Lord of Miracles’ celebration.

You will also have the pleasure to taste pisco-based cocktails called "chicha sour", purple corn pasta, risotto, or even tamales.

By traveling along the route "Inca Trail" you will be able to visit one of the fields dedicated to the sown of the purple corn, visualize the manufacturing process of its derived products, and enjoy the experience of living the sweetest part of the travel.

This is definitely a gift from the "Pacha Mama", and it would be unforgivable not to enjoy it in your trip to this country.


By: Andrea Cuello Navarro

Vivee Experiences Team Member