Peruvian Spotlight: Inventions

As we wind up our adventure through Peru, we thought it would be fun to see what this glorious country has given us in terms of inventions. Let’s start with some of the earliest people in the region, the Incan Empire:

1)    Freeze-Drying

Thought this was a clever food storage solution developed by NASA? While they do use this process to keep astronauts sated in space, you might be surprised to learn that the first records of food being freeze-dried was potatoes in the high Andes. Incas would cover potatoes in a cloth and set them outside overnight. When the frigid temperatures would drop below 32° F, the potatoes would freeze. In the morning, the Incas would use the clothes to ring out any moisture from the potatoes and repeat the process until the desired level of freeze-drying was achieved.

These ingenious Incas would use the long-lasting potatoes as lightweight food rations for soldiers and extra was kept as an emergency supply of food in case of natural disaster, crop failure or drought.

2)    Rope Bridges

The Andean Mountains are not the easiest to navigate with sheer cliffs and cavernous gorges but like many other adversities, the Incas developed a way to overcome these natural hazards. Using materials abundant to the region such as cotton, grass and wool from llamas and alpacas, the Incas created sturdy rope bridges to help them traverse gaps as wide as 150 feet. These primitive suspension bridges were attached at either side to large stone structures and were often used in the morning to avoid strong winds that could turn the bridge into a hammock.  Not ones to forget safety, the Incas would rebuild the bridges each year to prevent the natural fibers from deteriorating too badly.

3)    Terrace Farming

Flat fields are not the easiest to come by in the Andes, so traditional agriculture that prospered in other parts of the world was not possible for the Incas. Their solutions…Terrace Farming!

Large stepped levels were created on inclines and clever construction meant that adequate sunshine, fertile soil and drainage let the Incas yield large crops.

The same temperatures that made freeze-drying possible put the crops at risk. The Incas built stone retaining walls around the terraces to not only hold the farmland in place, but also to absorb heat during the day and radiate it through the soil at night to stop the crops from freezing.

To make the most of limited space, “the three sisters” planting method was invented. Corn would be planted and allowed to grow to a satisfactory height before beans were planted. The corn stalks acted as support beams for the beans cling to as they grew. The last step was to plant squash at the base of the beans and the corn. This concoction of vegetation had a symbiotic relationship with the beans adding nitrogen to the soil to increase the nutrient level and the squash acting as a mulch to prevent weeds and lock in moisture.

4)    Llama and Alpaca Breeding Systems

These animals were paramount to the Incan Empire’s rise to power and daily survival. They provided fuel, fertilizer and meat.  Their hides and wool transformed into colorful garments often worn by nobility.  Through selective breeding, these domesticated animals were the ancient version of a purebred poodle. After generations of using this method, the Incas had llama and alpacas with all the specific traits they desired such as finer, softer fibers than traditional llamas.

The Incas were not the only inventive people around. Taking a look at modern day Peruvian inventions, there is the first modern rocket propulsion system by Pedro Paulet and an urban air cleaner that was built in response to the heavily polluted Peruvian capital of Lima.

5)    Rocket Propulsion System

Pedro Paulet was born in Arequipa, Peru in 1874 and by 1895 was the first person to create a liquid-fuelled rocket engine. His innovations did not stop there however, in 1900 he built what is now known as a modern rocket propulsion system and became one of the “fathers of aeronautics”.

6)    The Urban Air Cleaner

Taking a look at innovative advancements in more recent times, a group of Peruvians seeking a way to combat the ever-increasing smog in their capital city of Lima invented the Urban Air Purifier – 20 (UAP – 20).  In February of 2009, over 100 these UAP – 20s were installed in different areas of Lima, each one having the ability to filter 200,000 cubic meters of air per day or the equivalent of what it takes 1,200 trees to do. With air pollution killing more than 2 million people annually, we can all be thankful for this advancement which absorbs carbon dioxide, filters air dust and decreases harmful bacteria.

It is safe to say that Peruvians are an inventive bunch with many of the ancient developments still present in some form of our modern life today. NASA must be especially thankful for the work of Peruvians like Pedro Paulet and their astronauts happy that they have freeze-dried food to snack on in space.

If you would like more information on any of the destinations in our focus this month or on how to organize an incentive trip to Peru through JNR, please contact jnrinfo@jnrcorp.com.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Stephanie Thomas

______________________________________________________________

JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

Photo: “Rope Bridge, Peru” by Krystelle Denis is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Peruvian Spotlight: Inti Raymi Peruvian Festival of the Sun

With Peru and in particular Machu Picchu still fresh in our minds, JNR now takes you to the dynamic and glorious Inti Raymi or the Festival of the Sun, which is celebrated in Cusco, Peru each year on June 24. This festival coincides with their Winter Solstice, when the sun is farthest away from the earth, and is a time to worship the Sun God, Inti, who is the main deity of the Incan Empire religion, and his wife Pachmama, who is prayed to for a successful and fertile harvest season.

Today, the festival is a reenactment of the customary celebration and includes traditions that date back 500 years. The celebrations take part at the dramatic stone ruins of Sacsayhuamán and can last up to five hours. Each year, one lucky actor is selected to play Sapa Inca, the emperor, who delivers a thrilling performance that highlights the eternal sanctification of the bond between the Sun and humans. A mock llama is sacrificed, his head held high to Pachmama and the future is read from its faux blood.

As the sun sets, bonfires are set for the first time that day and the procession then winds through the town of Cusco where the streets are filled with lively people dancing and singing in vibrant clothing. Priests and other participants dress in three main costumes: the snake which symbolizes the underworld, the puma which represents life on earth and the condor which represents the heavenly world of the gods. You will also see women sweeping away evil spirits and streets covered in beautiful flowers and petals.

It is customary to drink and toast with chichi, a fermented beverage most commonly derived from maize, throughout the festival, and Sank’u, the Andean people’s main meal, should be tried – both can be bought from food and beverage vendors at most venues.

Quechua is the traditional language of the Incas and can be heard throughout this ceremony which more than 64,000 people celebrate annually.

Why not plan to visit the festival before traveling to the breathtaking city of Machu Picchu? If you would like more information on how to organize an amazing incentive trip to this fantastic festival, please email jnrinfo@jnrcorp.com.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Stephanie Thomas

______________________________________________________________

JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

Photo: “Inti Raymi” by Carlos Dίaz is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Peruvian Spotlight: Lomo Saltado and Garlic Quinoa Recipe

As our journey through vibrant Southeast Asian draws to a close, it is time to head across the Pacific Ocean to the glorious land of Peru. JNR has organized many successful incentive travel and reward programs to this beautiful region with participants enjoying the culture, adventure and natural wonders.

Peru is a land of ancient traditions and beliefs, from the Norte Chico civilization to the Inca Empire. These Andean societies progressed through innovations in agriculture including irrigation and terracing, and ate quinoa as a staple – long before it became the hip, superfood it is today.

Contemporary Peruvian cuisine is a fusion of American Indian and Spanish with influences from other regions including China, Japan, Italy and Africa.  Due to the various climates throughout Peru, a plethora of native plants and animals can be harvested, resulting in rich, eclectic flavors and many delicacies.

Lomo Saltado is one of the best-known Peruvian dishes and combines native ingredients, such as potatoes, with the traditional style of Chinese stir-fry. We thought that the Peruvian dish of garlic quinoa would make the perfect accompaniment and both recipes are below.

 

Lomo Saltado

Total Time:     1 hr 5 min

Prep:     15

Cook:    50

Yield:    4 servings

Level:    Easy

 

Ingredients

  • Vegetable Oil
  • 3 large Potatoes (cut into fries)
  • 1 pound Beef Tri Tip (sliced ¼ inch thick)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 large Onion (diced)
  • 3 large Tomatoes (peeled, seeded and sliced into strips)
  • 1 Yellow Chili Pepper
  • ¼ cup Distilled White Vinegar
  • Dash of Soy Sauce
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Coat fries in vegetable oil and place on baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes.

While fries are baking, heat vegetable oil in frying pan over medium heat. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Fry the meat until the juices start to release. Remove meat from frying pan, and then cook the onions until transparent. Add the tomatoes and yellow chili pepper and cook until the tomatoes soften. Add the vinegar, soy sauce, beef and fries, cover, and cook until the beef is done, about 3 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and pepper and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve immediately.

 

Garlic Quinoa

Total Time:     20 min

Prep:     2

Cook:    18

Yield:    4 servings

Level:    Easy 

 

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • ½ cup Onions (diced)
  • 2 tsp Garlic (minced)
  • 1 cup quinoa (rinsed well and drained)
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • ¼ tsp salt

 

Directions

Sauté onion in olive oil for two minutes, then add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add quinoa, stock and salt to pan; bring to boil and then reduce heat and cover, simmer for 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

Serve immediately.

 

If you would like more information on how to organize an incentive trip to Peru through JNR, please contact jnrinfo@jnrcorp.com.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Stephanie Thomas

______________________________________________________________

JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.