Get to know cocoa beans better.
By Veronica De Lira, Nutritionists
According to herbwisdom.com, cocoa beans comes from the Amazon where they grow best, as the beans need a warm climate with plenty of shade making Africa, Asia, Central and South America prime locations for growth.1 According to historyofchocolate.com, there are “1.5 million cocoa farms in West Africa” which explains its popularity. 2
The popularity is nothing new as cocoa beans are the key ingredient to making one of our favorite treats, chocolate. According to uncleharrys.com, cocoa beans were even used as currency between the Mayans and Aztecs. At one time, rumor has it that Montezuma actually had raw cocoa beans hidden away rather than jewels or gold.
And, we must appreciate our farmers who grow cocoa beans. 3 The growing process actually takes a while to perfect, as farmers want the best quality of seed.
Health Benefits of Cocoa Beans
Besides being an ingredient in delicious dishes, Cocoa beans also boast a number of health benefits. According to herbwsidom.com, here are a few: 1
- Promotes Cardiovascular Health
- Energy booster
- May help aid in weight loss
- Good source of vitamins and minerals
How can I cook with cocoa beans?
According to bestsuperfoods.wordpress.com, when cooking with whole beans all you have to do is crush them and remove the peel which can be done with your hands, they are also pretty versatile as you can use them whole or ground. 4 Cocoa bean may also be called cacao beans.
And, you may discover you like roasted better than unroasted. Cocoa beans actually come in a variety of forms such as
- Cacao bean nibs (roasted form)
What can I use Cocoa beans for?
Cocoa beans can be used to add sweetness to a lot of favorite recipes and be used to create some great dishes such as:
- Raw food
- You can make your own chocolate
- Hot chocolate
Here’s a Recipe to Try
Here is a recipe from food.com Cocoa bean brownies that is perfect for that sweet tooth of ours. 5
- 3 eggs
1⁄3 cup canola oil or 1⁄3 cup olive oil
- 15 ounces garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- 3 tablespoons soymilk or 3 tablespoons milk
1⁄2 cup cocoa, unsweetened
- 1 cup sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
1 -2 teaspoon peppermint or 1 -2 teaspoon orange extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Put eggs and oil in the blender and mix for 10 seconds.
- Add remaining ingredients into the blender and process until smooth.
- Spray 8 x 8 inch pan with cooking spray. Pour batter into pan and bake for about 35 minutes*, or until brownies are just pulling away from edges of the pan.
- Cool, cut and serve.
- Keep an eye on them after 30 minutes as oven temps can vary.
- I refrigerate the brownies and find them even better when they have cooled. Very chocolaty, very yummy.
- Because they are made with beans, it is advised not to eat too much at once.
Don’t forget to check our Fill Your Plate’s recipe section. In the dessert section of Fill Your Plate, you’ll find a variety of chocolate recipes.
1.”Cocoa Beans Benefits & Information.” Herbwisdom. Web. 6 Oct. 2015. http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-cocoa.html
- “Beans.” – The Story of Chocolate. Web. 6 Oct. 2015. http://www.thestoryofchocolate.com/Where/content.cfm?ItemNumber=3427
- Harry, Uncle. “Uncle Harry’s Product Library.” Cacao Beans: A Real Superfood. Web. 6 Oct. 2015. https://www.uncleharrys.com/blog/product-library/post/cacao-beans-a-real-superfood
- “What Can I Do with RAW Cacao Beans or Nibs?” BEST SUPERFOODS. 5 Nov. 2008. Web. 6 Oct. 2015. https://bestsuperfoods.wordpress.com/2008/11/05/what-can-i-do-with-raw-cacao-beans-or-nibs/
- “Cocoa Bean Brownies Recipe – Food.com.” Cocoa Bean Brownies Recipe – Food.com. Web. 6 Oct. 2015. http://www.food.com/recipe/cocoa-bean-brownies-330460