People often confuse things by using cacao and cocoa interchangeably since they have a lot in common. Cacao bean is the raw, unprocessed, and edible seed gotten from the cacao tree. Apart from the fact that you can chew raw cacao beans, its fermented state can be used to make hot chocolate and other beverages.
The cacao bean is an exceptional one. Its growth is favored by humid temperature and particular soil conditions. You might be missing out on a great taste because your decision on eating or adding cacao seed to your food is shaky. This might be due to your skepticism on how the unprocessed form of the seed would taste.
What does cacao taste like? Cacao has an appealing taste you will come to love! Cacao in its raw state is a big pod filled with seeds. The edible inch-long seeds have a slightly bitter, earthy, and nut-like taste like that of unsweetened dark chocolate.
Cacao bean has a combination of smooth and crunchy texture. The powdered form of the cacao bean is dry and fine but not perfect like all-purpose flour. Cacao powder has a perfectly smooth blend of smooth and silky texture.
Eating cacao beans is not like biting into the cocoa bean, it is quite crunchy and has mildly hard skin. Cacao bean is an outstanding food with varied usage to your satisfaction. Doubts on how cacao bean flavors shouldn’t make you lose out on the great taste and nutritional benefits it has to offer.
Nutritional Benefits of Cacao Bean
Consuming cacao beans and powder has an immense benefit on the human body. The cacao powder is a perfect and healthier substitute for cocoa powder as it contains a significant amount of iron, protein, magnesium, potassium, and fiber.
Cacao bean is considered a superfood. It contains a high quantity of antioxidants, minerals, and various health-boosting, anti-aging, and illness-fighting properties. The fiber in cacao bean powder aids healthy digestion and helps reduce the risk of adamant bowel syndrome and prevents other digestive problems.
Cacao is flavonoid-rich. It has proven to help lower blood pressure, enhance the flow of blood to various organs in the human body, prevent blood clots, and reduce the risk of diabetes. The flavonoids in cacao seed also help reduce inflammation in the body.
The minerals and vitamins in cacao lessen the risk of some cancer, diabetes, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease. You would be doing your health and heart a great deal of good if you consume cacao.
Culinary Uses of Cacao
The cacao bean and powder can be used in several ways to meet your feeding needs. You would be surprised at how versatile cacao beans and powder is in their usage. Cacao powder can be used to make brownies, cake, dark chocolate, and other chocolatey desserts.
Are you confused about eating raw cacao because you’re vegan? Don’t worry, you can. Raw cacao can be used in making homemade raw vegan chocolate treats like chocolate shakes, cakes, granola bars, and truffles.
The cacao powder has a special quality of adding to the taste of toasted bread. Apply peanut butter on your toast and sprinkle cacao powder on it to enhance its taste. Cacao powder is also a perfect pair to go with the natural sweetness of fruits. Simply slice your pineapple, raspberry, and banana into desired slices and sprinkle cacao powder on it.
Cacao adds a distinct chocolate taste when used to garnish and spice food items. You can sprinkle it over yogurt, ice cream, granolas, and even eat it alone. Give your beef stew, barbecue sauces, and chilis an earthy flavor by adding cacao powder to it.
Where is Cacao Grown? How Do You Procure Them?
The cacao tree only grows under special conditions and in designated regions of the world. To reduce the hazards of disease and pests, cacao is grown on small labor-intensive farms rather than on large plantations. This is to prevent the wild spread of disease. Cacao is aboriginal to the lowland rainforest of the Orinoco basin and the Amazon.
The cacao tree was first grown by the Olmecs in South America. The increasing demand for cacao has led to it being grown commercially in West African countries and tropical Asia. More than half of the world’s supply of cacao currently comes from West Africa.
You can always get cacao powder and nibs in any grocery store near to you. The cacao powder and nib are usually packed in an airtight bag to preserve their quality and prevent spoilage. Make sure they are still in good condition before adding to your food or eaten raw.
How Do You Sweeten Cacao?
You can healthily satisfy your sweet tooth by adding sweeteners, non-dairy milk, and a small amount of honey to your hot cacao chocolate. Raw cacao bites can be sweetened by blending cacao powder with walnuts and dates.
Facts You Don’t Know About Cacao
- Scientifically, the cacao tree is called theobroma cacao. Its tree is a small evergreen tree belonging to the Malvaceae family.
- The cacao tree doesn’t blossom or bear fruit until it is about four years old. The mature tree may have over 6000 flowers annually and yet have only 20 pods on it.
- Ivory Coast was the largest producer of Cacao beans in 2018 with 37% of the world’s total supply.