You may be thinking what is Tocosh? Up until recently I had not heard of Tocosh (Tocush, or however it is pronounced), I was told it was a potato that had a horrible smell associated with it but was supposedly really delicious. My curiosity having already been peaked I decided to follow through by researching a little further.
After a few minutes of searching on Google, I was surprised to discover that there wasn’t much information (at least on the English version of Google) about Tocosh, hell it’s not even on Wikipedia! I decided to switch gears and use Google.pe which is the Peruvian/Spanish equivalent of English Google. There I found a more information on Tocosh, some of which I found rather interesting.
It turns out that Tocosh isn’t a type of potato if not an end-result product of an ancient fermentation - putrification process developed by the Incas many years ago. Back in those days the Incans considered Tocosh as the preserver of the human body. The Incans would prepare Tocosh by digging a small hole along the side of a river bank. In the hole they would fill it with regionally picked potatoes and then placed rocks over the potatoes to flatten them. There they would leave the potatoes while the water from the river slowly worked its way into the hole for a period of 6 – 12 months. The water that ran through those holes was what eventually would transform the potatoes to the point that it produced a powerful and natural antibiotic. After an almost year long fermentation process the Incans would take the potato remains out of the holes and leave them to dry under the suns powerful rays. Once dry the Tocosh in its final form would be used in stews and dishes of the Incans, as well as medication.
In today’s modern world Tocosh continues to be used more commonly in rural towns and cities of the Andes by their population. Tocosh can even be purchased in a powdered state and in capsule form for certain medicinal uses. Tocosh is said to be effective (and has been confirmed in medical investigations) in dealing with postpartum (whatever that is?), pneumonia, common cold, curing wounds through direct application, hemorrhoids, and gastric ulcers, altitude sickness (Soroche), and gastrointestinal infections. It has even been used as an antibacterial agent due largely to its high Penicillin content. It is said that the people of the departments of Ancash and Huanuco (in to the North of Peru) have had fewer cases of gastric infections due to Tocosh being widely consumed in those regions. It is speculated that the strong and unflattering smell of Tocosh is what keeps it from being consumed in larger cities like Lima.
Having conducted an initial investigation through limited resources I would like to actually try the intriguing fermented potato and see if I can handle its strong and overpowering smell. I will definitely write a follow up once I have made physical contact.
For those of you interested here is the link to a site that sells Tocosh in capsule form, LINK.