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Nuñas are normally cooked like popcorn. The seed shown was heated with hot air and exploded to double its size in under 2 minutes. This seed had been collected in Peru and stored in Pullman, Washington, for more than 10 years. The fact that nuñas burst normally is an indication that popping may not be restricted to fresh seeds nor to high altitudes. (S.C. Spaeth)

legume that benefits the soil in which it is grown and that is well suited to interplanting with other crops such as corn.

Although they have real potential, these popping beans are probably unknown elsewhere because they apparently have daylength requirements that at present seem to restrict their cultivation to equatorial latitudes. Research to overcome this could give the world a large and fascinating new crop.


Andean Region. Nuña cultivation is already widespread from at least northern Ecuador to northern Bolivia, although distribution is discontinuous and in many places the plant is unfamiliar. With research and promotion, this bean is likely to be more widely adopted throughout the mountain region, as well as in the lowlands. It is already widely used by some urban mestizos, and in both highland towns and some coastal cities it sells at prices similar to those obtained for the most favored bean cultivars.3

3 Nuñas are most often found in “serrano” (Andean Indian) markets, such as the Mercado Mayorista in Lima, that are frequented by Indians from the highlands.

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