In the early 13th century, the Incan empire succeeded in expanding its rule along the entire span of the Andes Mountains in South America. At its height, the empire controlled portions of what are now five countries, including Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, and Chile. A key ingredient of their successful rule of this linear empire was the invention by the Incas of the process of freeze-drying a type of potato known as the chuño. The process allowed the food to be stored for long periods of time and carried for long distances over the rugged terrain of the Andes.
A Space-Age Food Product Cultivated by the Incas
By Simon Romero
The New York Times
August 10, 2016