Is Chocolate A Fruit? When I teach various courses on chocolate making, I can make chocolate myself, and it is of course a pleasure to pass on my knowledge.
Sometimes the questions are technical and detailed, such as the tempering and crystallization processes of chocolate, but others are more general and simply practical, such as when can I eat everything? So I thought it would be fun and informative to tell you what goes on behind the scenes in cocoa production. The main ingredient in chocolate. A good question starts with the fact that cocoa is a fruit that children often ask.
The definition of cocoa bean
Let’s start with a definition: In Nahuatl, cocoa is the dried, fully fermented and fully fermented fat from the seeds and the cocoa solids (cocoa butter) that are extracted in the theobroma of cocoa. There are many different types of cocoa, such as chocolate, chamomile and cocoa feathers, but let’s start with the definition.
The cocoa pod
It is filled with a sweet, slimy pulp (called baba cocoa in South America) that contains 30 to 50 large seeds that are quite soft, white and pale. During the drying process, the seeds turn purple or reddish-brown, although they are usually white.
It is considered a fruit plant, but it is not a vegetable from which nuts and fruits come and beans themselves are seeds. The seeds are technically from the mother, so there is not much difference between a bean or bean without seeds and one with seeds, such as a banana.
One of the best questions leads to the next, namely, which fruit or bean the seeds of the nuts come from.
Three major cocoa varieties are grown worldwide: cocoa beans, cocoa beans and cocoa nibs. If you do not reproach me, I will not even ask you this question, because it is so easy to answer.
Theobroma cocoa varieties belong to the same family of cocoa beans grown in different geographical areas. Theobromus cocoa belonged to one of the oldest and most popular cocoa species in the world, the bamba plant.
The amazing cocoa tree plant
Cocoa comes from cocoa trees that are very difficult to grow and only bear fruit when the temperature of the soil warms to at least 60 degrees Celsius. The tree can only grow to a height of 1.5 meters if this height is so high that the resulting temperature drops below 15 degrees Fahrenheit (-15 Celsius).
Cocoa also needs year-round moisture and poor growing conditions make it even more vulnerable to a variety of diseases. When the conditions are perfect for the tree, the seeds germinate in the soil and within four years it begins to bear fruit.
Interesting facts about the cacao tree
The cacao leaves
When the cocoa leaves fall on the forest floor, they rot, mingle with the leaves of other plants and rot in the soil.
The decomposing fungi and other organisms decompose into debris, which supplies the soil with vital nutrients and thus fertilizes the tree. The dead leaves also provide food for the tiny insects that pollinate the cocoa flowers. So you know more about coca trees, but how about going back to the cocoa capsules themselves?
Cocoa pod ripening process
Cocoa capsules are the fruit of the coca tree, and cocoa is the fruit, so repeat this over and over again until you know it is a fruit.
It can take about 10 pods to produce only one kilogram of cocoa mass, and it takes 5 months for pollinated flowers to ripen into oval, ribbed fruits during the ripening process. Flowers and pods appear on the same tree at about the same time, so it can take up to ten times longer for each pod to be produced. Theobromine, which is similar to caffeine, gives the seeds their bitter taste.
So we know where it is grown, but we do not know where it is or where it grows in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and other parts of Europe.
How much of each cocoa variety is grown?
The Trinitario beans, from which we are all made, are a cross between Forestero and Criollo and have some of the best properties of both. They are made with a delicate flavour, which is most appreciated by criollo beans, although some are more difficult to grow. In 2010, more than 1.5 million tonnes of it were harvested worldwide, or about 2.2 million pounds of beans.
What are the qualities of forestero cocoa beans?
The forest beans probably originate from the Amazon region of South America and are among the most frequently cultivated and abundant plants worldwide.
The beans are flat and the pods are usually yellow, but the hardiest varieties of cocoa have been domesticated in the United States and other parts of the world since the late 19th century. It has been cultivated in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa for over 1000 years.
Although much of the cocoa grown is of poor quality, it is suitable for commercial chocolate and baking applications. The aromas of this variety are less acidic and earthy, but some have more complex and valuable aromas. For full flavors, blends such as those grown in Sao Tome and Ivory Coast are often used.
What are the qualities of Criollo beans?
Criollo beans, which are most appreciated, are peeled, and the pods are either yellow or red, but not both at the same time.
This variety is probably one of the first cultivated by the Mayans in the area we call Colombia today, and probably the oldest in Latin America.
It is described as sweet, delicate and good – balanced in taste, but its delicate temperament has proved its undoing. In the mid-19th century, almost all the world’s cocoa was harvested from the Criollo variety. The beans with uniform origins in Venezuela and Madagascar are among the most sought after – after. It is still one of our most valuable and has been harvested by almost half of the World Cocoa Farmers Organization (CACA) since its inception in the late 19th century.
What are the qualities of trinitario beans?
The Trinitario bean is a cross between Criollo and Forestero beans, and the beans can be round or flat, the pods can be red or yellow, or both. The husk can be canned or ground, with the bean in the middle or at the bottom of the husk.
It is not grown on a large scale, but it is cross pollinated – in the US since the 17th century, where it naturally pollinates. It is named after its Trinitario and has the same color as the Criollo bean and the Forestero bean, as well as a slightly different shell.
Are there other varieties of cacao?
Other varieties are not known outside small plantations in the original area and have not been cultivated commercially on a large scale. They are the result of natural disasters such as floods, droughts, droughts and droughts. Some cocoa-growing countries, such as the United States, have shown interest in discovering these lost varieties and hope to develop new varieties that are more pest-resistant and yield higher yields.
What is the future for cacao growing?
Because cocoa is vulnerable to many different pests and diseases and is difficult to grow, creating and promoting more varieties will help it thrive for centuries. Further species can also be isolated by further work by scientists, such as the ongoing research at the University of California, Davis.
Back to our question: is cocoa a fruit?
The question of whether or not cocoa is a fruit, and we are looking at where we get it from, therefore seems a very interesting question.
During the flowering period, less than 5% of the cocoa blossoms are pollinated, the rest are sown into seeds, which are then sown again to pollinate. To find out where the coca trees grow, you would have to go on a world tour.
One last thing!
Monkeys, birds and other animals spew out bitter substances – taste seeds and break open the pods to eat the sweet white pulp that surrounds the seeds. This way, the seed enters the forest soil and has the chance to pollinate and grow into a new tree. But cocoa trees have another trick at their fingertips: they must behave like a trick.
We have a fabulous answer to this curious question, so next time you want to delve deeper into the world of chocolate and discover how different chocolates taste. This does not mean that there is no chocolate that uses hand-made chocolate – there are many different types of chocolate.