The trees on which cocoa beans grow are fromCentral America (the territory of modern Mexico). Like many other representatives of the flora, since the discovery of this continent by Europeans, they have been spread all over the world. Currently, cocoa is produced literally in all countries where climatic conditions only allow. Mostly it is about the native land of the plant - Central America, as well as Africa and some countries of Asia.
In fact, the species of the plant is verya lot, but they are all combined into two main ones - cryollo and forastero. Varieties belonging to the first category are more whimsical in production, but the fruits of such trees are considered high quality and, accordingly, more expensive (from 20,000 dollars per ton and more). The second group is less demanding, but as a result, not so qualitative cocoa beans are obtained. The price for them will be significantly lower (about 12-15 thousand).
Wild trees grow mainly inforests of Central and South America, and cultivated - on special plantations. They are quite high, sometimes reach 9 and more meters. It is remarkable that their pretty beautiful flowers, outwardly reminiscent of orchids, are located not only on the branches, but also on the trunk itself. However, not all of them will eventually become a fruit. As a rule, less than 10% of the color turns into them.
Harvest is harvested several times a year (usually two). Distinguish the main collection (up to 90% of the total volume) and intermediate (about 10%). The fruits of the plant are rather large, up to 500 grams each. However, after cleaning, drying and sorting for sale, nothing remains. From one tree an average of about a kilogram of ready-to-bean beans.
Cocoa beans for initial processingextracted from the fruit and subjected to fermentation (for several days, gradually heated to 50 degrees). As a result, a natural fermentation process occurs, the chemical composition of the product changes, and its taste qualities are improved. The fermentation is completed by slow drying in the sun, after which ready-for-sale cocoa beans are obtained. Raw materials, the quality of which largely depends on the variety of the plant itself, the conditions of cultivation and compliance with technologies, falls into the market. Then it is finally processed, obtaining oil and cocoa powder.
Buyers, as a rule, determine the qualitygoods by external characteristics (color, size, surface uniformity), odor. Sometimes, in order to make sure that the cocoa beans meet the established standards, one must resort to chemical analysis.
Looks cocoa beans (photo is presented above)quite appetizing. In addition, they have a pleasant scent. But is there anything in their composition that is good for the human body? To answer this question, you must first consider the nutritional value of the product. Cocoa beans consist of a core and a shell (cocoa shell), in which there is a minimum of useful substances.
The main product made from thisplants, - oil (in the core contains about 50% of fat). It is widely used in the food industry (for example, for the production of chocolate), often it is part of cosmetics. If you consider the full composition of cocoa beans, it will be as follows: fats - up to 55%, protein - up to 15%, starch - about 7%, fiber 3-4%. The rest - water, theobromine, melanin, caffeine, calcium, phosphorus. In addition, cocoa beans contain vitamins B and PP, as well as antioxidants, which allows them to be used in medicine and pharmacology. In their composition there are also about 300 aromatic compounds, giving in aggregate a unique "chocolate" smell.
Considering the properties of this product, in the firstturn it is necessary to present it as raw material for the food industry. In this case, cocoa beans, the benefits and harms of which are almost equal, can be a good source of energy, due to the high carbohydrate content, the presence of caffeine and calorie content. Also, one should not forget about antioxidants, thanks to which, the product is used in medicine and in cosmetology. Not vitally important, but still indisputable, are vitamins and fiber. Melanin, a part of the beans, allows you to produce protective creams and lotions for sunburn. Thanks to the presence of vitamin D (which is a rarity for plant raw materials), cosmetics have a beneficial effect on the condition of the skin and hair.
In general, cocoa beans, the use of which has long beennot limited to the production of chocolate and other sweets, used in ancient times. Ritual drink from them was drunk by the Aztecs and other peoples inhabiting South America. True, the way they were processed was very far from the modern one, but already then they knew about the benefits of the components contained in them.
First of all, caloric content. For example, the energy value of chocolate, the most mass product produced from cocoa beans, ranges from 500 kcal per 100 grams or more (if the product is treated in its pure form, this figure will be even greater). In addition, they contain caffeine, which along with cheerfulness can cause and an increase in blood pressure. So hypertensive people and children chocolate from cocoa beans and other products should be used with caution. Another component of the fetus - theobromine, known for its ability to overcome depression and improve mood, according to some scientists, is a potent poison. In addition, during production, as well as immediately after harvest, cocoa beans are raw, and then, after fermentation and drying, they are often treated with fairly strong chemicals. They do this in order to protect the crop from pests and prevent its spoilage. Naturally, some part of the poison gets inside and is stored in the finished product.
Therefore, with the use of goods, the composition ofwhich include cocoa beans, the benefits and harm should be understood, and the dosage should be considered. If the same chocolate is a little, nothing bad will happen, and the mood will certainly improve.
First, direct use inward. Naturally, this does not mean that you need to literally chew them (although this option is allowed), it is enough to use cocoa powder or oil in the cooking process. Undoubtedly, most of them are desserts, starting with chocolate and sweets, ending with cakes and other pastries. The second place is occupied by drinks, which include cocoa beans. The use of oil in them is rarely practiced, mainly powder is used. It is sold in any grocery store.
In cosmetology, cocoa butter has also receivedwide use. Due to the combination of natural fats, antioxidants and tonic elements, it is often used as an important component of masks and creams. It is easy to apply it even at home, this is facilitated by the consistency of the product. At room temperature, the oil is solid, it can easily break off a piece (or cut off with a knife). And already at 33-35 degrees it begins to melt, that is, slightly warming it in a microwave or a water bath and adding other components, you can get a nourishing mask for the hands or face, hair or body. Cosmetologists especially recommend such procedures to people with dry and flaky skin. After all, oil perfectly nourishes and smoothes it, making it soft and velvety.
Also it is recommended to use it for protectionface and lips during the winter cold. It is enough to hold a small piece in your hands, and when it starts to melt, lubricate them with problem areas. Thanks to the melanin contained in the cocoa, its oil is sometimes added to the tanning agents. After taking sun baths, it can be applied in a pure form to the skin. This will soften it and reduce the negative impact of ultraviolet light.
And it is used to strengthen and groweyelashes and eyebrows, as well as as one of the main components in creating a mask for sensitive eyelid skin. In general, fans of natural cosmetics in the arsenal must necessarily be the highest grade of cocoa butter. Sell it in pharmacies and specialty stores. Nutritional option is not suitable, since it is possible for an allergic reaction.
In medicine, this product is used both externally(part of ointments from burns, dermatitis and other ailments), and inside. Its components allow you to fight with diseases of the cardiovascular system, digestive tract and nervous disorders. However, use oil with caution, not exceeding the prescribed dosage.
In many beauty salons and resortswhole complexes using cocoa products are used. Their popularity is explained by a double action. Firstly, it is useful for the skin, and secondly, aromatherapy helps to improve mood, soothing effect on the nervous system.
Chocolate wrapping tightens and rejuvenatesskin, has pronounced anti-cellulite and anti-stress effects. The procedure is recommended in preparation for the beach season, because it allows not only to restore the body in order, but also to protect itself from ultraviolet radiation.
Chocolate bath nourishes and softens the skin, normalizes blood and lymph circulation, promotes relaxation. She is appointed with fatigue and stress, to improve the general condition and raise the mood.
Massage with chocolate oil is used forelimination of cosmetic defects (scars, scars). The procedure stimulates the biochemical processes in the body, acts as an aromatherapy, promotes emotional balance.
As a rule, they are used in raw form, butonly after they have passed the primary fermentation. In this form, the beans contain more useful antioxidants, they are more invigorating and cheerful. It is not so easy to buy them as ready-made powder or oil. They are mainly presented in specialized health food stores.
Зная о пользе продукта, многие не совсем understand what to do with cocoa beans that have not been thermally processed. First and foremost, they should just try for taste ... Yes, such as they are. To many they seem quite edible and even pleasant. In this case, they can simply be consumed as a supplement before each meal. The maximum daily dosage should not exceed 40 grams (4 tablespoons).
Если же какао-бобы покажутся невкусными, их можно dunk in honey, hot chocolate or used to make desserts, chopping in a coffee grinder. They sprinkle ice cream, fruit salads. Raw cocoa beans are also used to create a unique "Chocolatl" drink. How to cook? Traditional chocolatl, according to the recipe of the Indians, is rather difficult and troublesome. But there is an express method. To do this, take a handful of cocoa beans, a spoon of oil from them, spices (cinnamon, cloves, ginger) and sugar to taste. All the ingredients are ground with a coffee grinder and heated on low heat until the syrup condition. Then add boiling water (about 200 ml), mix thoroughly and turn off, not bringing to a boil. Remove from heat, whisk and beat well. It turns out a magical invigorating drink, which, by the way, is much tastier and more useful than ordinary cocoa.
At home, you can make bitter or milk chocolate,as well as sweets with nuts, candied fruits or fruit. There are several recipes for creating goodies from cocoa, but they differ mainly in additional ingredients.
To make classic chocolate,You will need 100 g of sugar or powder, 20 g of butter and 50 g of cocoa butter. You also need to take 200 g of this product in the form of a powder. From these ingredients you will get a classic bitter chocolate, which can be flavored with vanilla or cinnamon, and with the addition of a small amount of cream, it will be dairy.
Сначала на водяной бане топят смесь из масел, then pour sugar and cocoa powder into it. Stirring, bring to homogeneity and dissolution of the crystals (you can not boil!). The resulting substance is poured into a mold (better silicone) and left to freeze in the refrigerator. If desired, you can add nuts, raisins, dried apricots.
For the preparation of sweets, molds forice. They are poured with chocolate half, inside put stuffing (nut, berries, a piece of fruit) and fill to the top, sending to freeze in the cold. Such sweets are more useful and tastier than shops.
This ingredient is often added to pastries forobtaining chocolate flavor and color. Sometimes it is poured into coffee or other drinks, in a soufflé, glazes and puddings. One of the most striking and successful recipes is the brownie. It is prepared in the form of a whole cake or served portioned cupcakes. It turns out very tasty and super-chocolate.
4 chicken eggs will need 60 grams of flourand cocoa powder, a glass of any nuts, 300 grams of sugar and 150 butter. And a tile of dark chocolate. It must be broken and, together with the oil, sent to a water bath until completely dissolved. You can do this in a microwave, but then you have to make sure that the mass does not boil.
Отдельно яйца взбивают с сахаром, добавляя в них chocolate mass and stirring. Nuts are ground, and the flour is mixed with cocoa. All ingredients are combined, poured into a mold and baked in a non-hot oven (about 160 degrees) for half an hour. It is very important not to overeat the pie. It must be removed when the middle is still wet, and a dense crust appears on top. Removing from its shape only after complete cooling. Then the product is cooled for several hours and only then it is used.
Thanks to the discovery of the fruits of the cocoa tree, the worldreceived not only an invaluable food product, but also an indispensable raw material for the production of cosmetic and medicinal products. Especially valuable are raw cocoa beans, photos of which can be seen above. After all, they retain the maximum amount of vitamins and antioxidants. But even in fried beans, in cocoa butter and in ready-made chocolate, it's good enough not to deny yourself the pleasure of eating a slice of a delicious treat with a cup of tea. The main thing is to know the measure.