Many spices are used, as well as many cooking methods, and unique ingredients. And of course a huge variety going from area to area in Peru.
Many of the methods of cooking reach far back into the ancient traditional methods of cooking, as do agricultural practices. Interestingly Peruvian farmers or rather Incan agricultural workers cultivated potatoes and tomatoes from being poisonous tubers and berries, into edible ones full of nutrients that are used world wide. And so of course both of these ingredients are also heavily used in their cuisines. Some other foods grown greatly all over Peru and heavily utilized in the diet include:
Vegetables and Grains - quinoa, beans, lentils, nuts, spinach, corn, pumpkin, yuca, sweet potato
Fruits - papaya, pakay, passion fruit (granadilla, maracuya, and more), custard apple, bananas, pineapples, coconut, cacao, lucma
Spices - mint, muna, cumin, pepper, hot peppers, coriander, curcuma, garlic, ginger, cinnamon
Ingredients that have a ton of varieties include:
Corn - over 20 different varieties
Potatoes - over 40 different varieties
Passion Fruits - over 10 different varieties
Bananas - over 10 different varieties
Choclo is the word in Peru for corn - there are many different colours from light yellow to deep black purple, however unlike the sweet yellow small kernelled corn that we get in North America, this corn has got large starchy kernels used in making snacks like popcorn, to breads, and more often than not boiled and eaten with a heavy Andean cheese - Choclo con Queso or made into yellow corn beer called Chicha. The deep purple corn is generally dried out and then boiled with pineapple husks and cinnamon to create a refreshing juice like drink.