The main ingredient for preparing the solution of sweet tooth cravings, the Cocoa powder is a premium mix, extracted from the cocoa beans that can be used in preparing a number of cakes, pastries and chocolates. This product can be stored in your houses to make desserts and sweets. Cocoa powder is a favourite amongst people, but did you know how it came into existence?
What is Cocoa?
The main ingredient in the preparation of the sweet chocolate, Cocoa or Cocoa beans is the completely fermented and dried seed of the evergreen Theobroma Cacao Tree that is abundantly found in the tropical regions of South America. These dried seeds are processed and treated for the extraction of cocoa butter and the non-fat cocoa solids which can then be used in the preparation of various sweets and savouries.
How Was Cocoa Discovered?
Domesticated by the Olmecs and Mocayas, Cocoa has been in use for almost four-thousand years. According to historians, the Olmecs found Cocoa beans to be consumable when they witnessed rats devouring them with unmatched vigour. When they studied the tree, they found that the fruit had a punch of flavour that could be used for the preparation of a variety of dishes. The Olmec civilization started using the chocolate pulp of the fruit, in a fermented form, to make an alcoholic beverage. This ensured that the cocoa beans were considered to be quite precious for the people of that era and were used as a form of currency to purchase other food items, cattle or land.
Types of Cocoa Plants
There are three types of Cocoa plants across the vegetation of America that can be used in varied preparation of chocolates or other cocoa-based products. The major types are: 1. Forastero- This is the most common type of cocoa beans. Around eighty to ninety percent of the cocoa products are made using this variety of cocoa. 2. Criollo- Somewhat of a rarity in nature, the beans of the Criollo plant is considered to be a premium product and consumed as a delicacy. 3. Trinitario- A hybrid plant that consists of all the good properties of the Forastero and the Criollo plant, this popular variety tastes much better and has more resistance to diseases of the plant.
How Is Cocoa Powder Made?
Cocoa powder is made through an extensive and laborious process. 1. The ripe pods of the plant are collected every few weeks, before being split open, usually using a machete to expose the pulp. 2. These pulp covered seeds are then laid out in the sun to be fermented and dried. The pulp liquifies during the process of fermentation and drains out, leaving the seed behind. The seeds are then left to dry in the sun or treated with drying equipment. 3. The dried beans are shipped to processing factories where they undergo various treatments to get the final results. The seeds are winnowed to get rid of the husk, roasted and ground. 4. This ground powder is pressed in hydraulic machines to extract the cocoa butter for chocolate making while to remaining powder is made into high-grade cocoa powder. Considered to be a premium product cocoa powder price in India varies from brand to brand.