Have you ever met a person who has not tried chocolate or cocoa? We are all familiar with childhood with the taste of these wonderful delicacies. But what does the chocolate tree of cocoa look like, where it grows and how chocolate gets from it, not many know.
Facts about cocoa wood biology
- Cocoa wood, or chocolate tree, modern nerds refer to the family of the theobrome of the Malvic family (Malvaceae). The scientific name of the Tree "Theobroma" (Theobroma Cacao) came up with Karl Linney. Translated from the ancient Greek it means "Food of the Gods".
- Theobroma Cocoa is an evergreen tree tall up to 12-15 meters. The leaves are very large, dark green, shiny, up to 30 cm long. On the trunk and large branches are formed beams of small pinkish flowers with short flowers. Fruits grow out of them, as if growing right on the trunk. This type of fruiting is called caulifloria. Flowers of chocolate wood pollinated no bee, but small midges.
- The fruits of a chocolate tree are resemble a pointed melon with longitudinal furrows, in length they reach 30 cm and can weigh up to 0.5 kg. The ripening of fruits lasts from six months to a year, and only 200 fruits can be obtained from one tree per year. Inside the fetus contains a pink acid-sweet pulp. Under the pulp of the fetus there are 5 seed columns containing up to 50 seeds of wood - cocoa beans. From these seeds and get the most valuable products - cocoa powder, cocoa butter and their derivative - chocolate.
Where does Cocoa grow?
Cocoa's wild-growing trees are found in the tropical South American debris - the birthplace of orchids, rubberos, saba and a melon tree. Now the chocolate tree is evilurved, the plants cultivate in the tropical belt of the whole world: on plantations of South America, Africa, Indonesia and Oceania.
Most cocoa beans on the world market are manufactured in African countries. The largest providers of Cocoa - Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Indonesia, Colombia, Brazil. Cocoa is grown in the Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Bali - everywhere, where the wet tropical climate allows.
The cultivation of cocoa trees
Chocolate tree is capricious and laborious in care. For its cultivation, a constant temperature is needed not lower than 20 degrees, scattered sunlight and high humidity. Such conditions in nature exist in equatorial rainforests.
Cocoa trees are most often planted in the arrays of Gevei, coconut or banana palm trees, intense them from the scorching tropical sun. On plantations, the height of trees is limited to 6 meters to facilitate the harvest.
Evergreen Cocoa tree blooms and fruits all year round. In 5-6 years it blooms and brings the first fruits. Fruit tree for 30-80 years. Harvesting usually produce twice a year, at the end of the rainy season and before it starts.
Maybe you will be interested to read about the perfect chocolate substitute in the article: - Rozhkovy tree.
Is it possible to grow a room tree?
In room conditions it is difficult to grow a cocoa tree, it needs a warm greenhouse or a winter garden. But if you were lucky enough to buy fresh seeds of a miracle tree, you can try to germinate them in the room. This requires mini-greenhouse with a temperature of 20 degrees, loose water permeable soil and constant moisturizing. The beans are soaked in warm water, planted on a depth 2 cm. The container with seeds put in a warm well-lit place. Separations appear after 2-3 weeks.
Another way to produce cocoa wood - reproduction with cuttings. Cuttings cut in spring. For reproduction, half-respected shoots take 15-20 cm long with several leaves. Sit into the substrate composed of the turf, sand and leaf slowing, in the tank make a good drainage. Fertilize fertilizers from May to September. The plant is afraid of overwhelming, drafts and sunburn, it grows only at a temperature of 20-30 degrees.
Several varieties of chocolate wood, differing in taste and aroma of fruits, cultivation characteristics.
- Faustuso. - The most common cocoa variety, takes up to 80% of world production. This variety gives a high and regular harvest, grows pretty quickly. Cocoa of this variety is characterized by a characteristic bitterness with an acidic tint. Grown in Africa, Central and South America.
- Chilllo - A rare variety growing in Mexico and Central America. In the global market, the share of this variety is no more than 10%. It is difficult in cultivation, as severely susceptible to disease. Chocolate from this variety is characterized by a subtle aroma and an exquisite weak bitterness with a nut flavor.
- Trinitario - A variety derived from Criilla's crossing and Forastero. Inherited the best quality from both varieties: a pleasant taste and increased resistance to diseases. It is grown in Central, South America and in Asia.
- National - South American Cocoa variety. Beans have a specific taste and aroma. Cocoa of this variety is very rare, due to its exposure of diseases and a small range of growth.
Cocoa Bean Collection and Recycling
Collection and processing of cocoa beans is a very laborious process. The harvest is collected only by hand, applying special sharp machete knives. The collected fruits are immediately sent for processing. They are cut into several parts and lay out for fermentation between banana leaves for 5-7 days. During the fermentation of the cocoa beans acquire a characteristic color and aroma.
Then the cocoa seeds are directed to drying. Traditionally, cocoa beans unfold and dried, mixing daily, under sunlight, sometimes in drying furnaces. After drying, the cocoa beans are losing up to half the mass. They are packaged in jute bags and sent to the processing factory in various countries.
When processing from roasted beans, the oil is pressed with a hydraulic press, and the otchi is used to produce cocoa powder. To obtain 1 kg of grated cocoa, it is necessary to recycle about 40 cocoa fruits, approximately 1,200 beans.
Very interesting article, about the position of Ayurveda about chocolate, Cocoa, read: - Chocolate, Cocoa, Ayurveda.
Interesting facts about chocolate history
- Humanity drinks cocoa for more than 3,500 years.
- Although a chocolate tree is from Amazonia, the Indians of Central America began to cultivate him. Archaeological finds indicate that the people of Olmekov back in the XVIII century BC was familiar with a drink from cocoa tree fruit.
- The word "cocoa" was formed from the Aztec name of KakaHuatl beverage (chocolatl).
- Maya Indians considered cocoa with the sacred gift of the gods and consumed a drink in ritual purposes - for example, at wedding ceremonies.
- Cocoa drink among Aztecs was the privilege of priests and the highest nobility. Cocoa fruits together with the pulp, fought by maize, vanilla, salt and sharp pepper and fermented before the formation of foam. The fruits of the tree had value as local money - for example, for 100 cocoa fruits you could buy a slave.
- Christopher Columbus is the first of Europeans awarded to try a drink from cocoa fruit. However, Cocoa brought not Columbus to the territory of Europe, but Cortes is the Spanish conqueror of Mexico. In 1519, Cocoa appeared in Spain. The Spaniards were not allowed to export cocoa from their country, and only after 100 years cocoa penetrated into Europe.
- Chocolate in different periods of history called completely different products:
- In the XVI century It was a cold bitter drink from overgrown cocoa beans. Spanish aristocracy added precious spices to it - vanilla and cinnamon.
- From the XVII century. Europeans learned to brew hot chocolate and add sugar and milk to it. At the court of Louis XIV chocolate drink was considered an effective aphrodisiac.
- In 1828, in Holland invented cocoa oil pressing technology and receiving cocoa powder. The cocoa powder drink has become cheaper and more affordable for different layers of the population.
- In the second half of the XIX century, chocolate began to call a solid product based on cocoa oil. The tile chocolate was invented in its modern form.
About the benefits and harm of cocoa
- Cocoa is deservedly popular as a tonic and nutrient drink. It consists of caffeine and theobromine, various minerals, fats, vitamins A, B, E, folic acid. Cocoa is an excellent antioxidant that protects the body from the effects of free radicals, strengthens the vessels and heart.
- Cocoa oil is widely used in cosmetology and medicine. It prevents the aging of the skin, based on it is prepared a variety of creams, candles, ointments.
- The world is gaining popularity of drink from non-fried cocoa beans. It is believed that he fastest fills the forces in athletes, during exercise.
- Cheap chocolate varieties contain substitutes for expensive cocoa butter - coconut and palm oil.
- To whom the products from Cocoa are not useful:
- Pregnant women - cocoa prevents the assimilation of calcium;
- kids - due to caffeine content;
- Diabetes should not be takenlated with cocoa and chocolate - they contain a lot of sugar.
So, we met with a real miracle of nature - a cocoa tree. Enjoying the products of a chocolate miracle tree, you need not to forget only about one thing - about the sense of measure!
Cocoa - Since childhood, a favorite drink of many people. He gives a peculiar taste of candy, baking, a variety of confectionery research. This product is the result of processing chocolate seeds, which will be discussed further.
Description of the appearance of the plant
First of all, let's talk about how the cocoa tree looks like. It relates to the evergreen of theobroma from the Malvic family. Adult specimens are characterized by a direct, rather thin barrel, not exceeding 30 cm in grip, on average 10-meter height. Krone consists of a variety of branches, densely fronted and wide open. The color of the crust is brown, and the woods are yellowish. Plant leaf is large, in shape rounded or ellipped. Bashed with a short cutter. It has a brilliant surface of a dark green color from above and a matte lighter shade of green below. The size of the sheet reaches 15 cm in width and 30 cm long, are located on the branches alternately. The life cycle of the plant may exceed a hundred years. Fruit several times a year.
Blooming and fruiting
By type of blossom, a cocoa bean tree (you see in the article) belongs to the so-called cauliflorian. At the same time, the flowers are located on the crust of large branches and the trunk in large quantities. Collected by beams or arranged separately, they are attached short flowers. The size of flowers in diameter is up to 15 mm, the color has a reddish pink, white with a pink tint. Flowers of butterfly, insects, dull flies. Their entails an unpleasant floral smell. During the year, 30-40 thousand flowers appear on the tree of wood, of which only 250-400 is obtained. Flowers appear, starting from the second year of life, and the fruits are tied for 4-5 years. A clearly pronounced flowering period does not have a tree. With the exception of a period of heavy rains, it blooms and fruits continuously. Active fruiting continues for 20-25 years. The greatest fertility fees are obtained in 10-35 years old, then the size of the yields gradually decreases.
Fruits of wood
Externally, cocoa wood fruits are reminded by their elongated-oval form of a melon-torpedo or lemon, only larger sizes and with deep furrows along the body. Separate specimens weigh 0.5 kg and have a length of 30 cm. The peel is dense, to the touch resembles the skin. From the inside, they are a fruit with a pulp of five seed columns and a pleasant sour-sweet pulp of pink or white. Each such column includes 3-12 seeds. Ripens the fetus for a long time, from six months to a year. Collecting one crop gives up to two hundred fruits from a tree.
What do cocoa beans look like
Fruit seeds are cocoa beans. Seed in a dense shell, an oval shape with two seedlings, with an embryo inside, in red or brown color shades, 20-25 mm long.
Places of Growing
Where does the cocoa tree grow? His homeland is the tropics of the South American continent and Central America with a wet warm climate. Warranty types of cocoa trees are found there now. Plant demanding to the environment:
- The optimal temperature regime is 20-28 degrees Celsius.
- Sentenless without sources of straight sunlight.
- Loose and fertile land.
- Daily need for abundant moisture.
Cocoa tree is multiplied by seeds, and in artificial conditions still use stalks. Seeds are capable of bringing a short time, so sowing is made one or two weeks after their full maturation. The ground for planting is prepared from sand, a turf of the earth and leafy. Fill with it a small container, placed there fresh seeds, deepening them for 2 cm. The germination is produced at + 20-degree air temperature and regular moisture. Shoot irrigated warm water.
The cuttings of 15-20 cm with several leaves are cut in spring. For reproduction purposes, semi-respected shoots are used. The stalks from the vertical escape grows into a single-barreled plant. Side shoots give life to the plants of a bush form.
Grow home chocolate
Cocoa tree at home is grown in another way:
- Prepare loose soil mixture with the addition of fertilizers.
- Put it in a fitting container.
- Seeds of beans per day are poured with warm water.
- Make 2-3 cm in the soil in the soil and pour water into each.
- In the prepared recesses, poke the grain, sprinkling the soil.
- Capacity is left in a warm illuminated place.
- Do not forget about regular watering.
If everything is done correctly, the sprouts will appear after 2-3 weeks. When transplanting a seedling to a permanent place at the bottom of the pot makes drainage from sand or other suitable material. The roots of the moisture-loving plant do not wear water stagnation. For the full existence of a chocolate tree required:
- ambient temperature 20-30 degrees Celsius and sufficient humidity;
- halftime, lack of drafts;
- feeding organic fertilizers every month from March to September;
- In the summer months, fade by mineral fertilizers with predominant nitrogen content are added to organic;
- Periodic processing with special compositions for the prevention of fungal diseases.
Chocolate tree leaves can be placed mold when overwhelming.
Types and varieties of cocoa trees
Criollo and Forstero are the main cultivated types of chocolate trees at present:
- Criaollo is characterized by a walnut flavor and light brown color. Growing in Mexico and Central America. High-yielding appearance, but has one minus: cocoa tree (photo below) is strongly susceptible to diseases and capriciousness in relation to weather cataclysms. The beans of this type of chocolate tree constitute only 10% of the cocoa market. The chocolate produced is characterized by a subtle aroma and weakly bitter taste.
- Forstero is the seeds of dark brown, slightly proud to taste and exuded a strong aroma. The view occupies the first place in the global production of cocoa. Gives 80% of the market supply of raw materials. It is popular with high yield and growth rate of trees of this species. Cultivated by countries in Africa, South and Central America. Taste the finished product is characterized by characteristic bitterness and light acid.
- The trinitario variety is taken artificially by crossing the two above species. A cocoa tree is grown (photo presents to your attention below) in Asian countries, Central and South America. The taste of the finished product from the beans of this species is characterized by a pleasant bitterness and an exquisite aroma.
- It should be said about a rare form called National. Grown in South America, the beans have a persistent unique fragrance.
Depending on the place of growth, the Asian, American and African beans distinguish. They differ in quality, taste and aroma. The name is obtained from the territorial accessory of their landing:
- African varieties represent Cameroon, Ghana, Angola.
- American varieties are Baya, Grenada, Cuba, Ecuador.
- Asian varieties - Ceylon, Java.
The process of collecting cocoa fruits is carried out using manual labor. Ripe fruits growing from the bottom are cut off with a sharp knife, and those that are not available to manual removal from the branch are knocked down with sticks. The processing of the assembled crop also occurs manually: the seeds are removed from the crushed fruit shells, they put them on banana leaves and cover them from above. Next, within 5-7 days, they pass a period of fermentation (fermentation), they acquire the fragrance inherent in the delicate taste. Binding and acid disappear. The beans are dried naturally in the sun or in the furnaces. It lasts the drying process of 7-10 days with daily stirring. Weight loss at the same time is half of the original mass. For processing, ready-made raw materials departs, packed in special jute bags. In them, beans can be kept for several years.
The benefits of fruits, seeds and their use, contraindications
The fruit flesh of a chocolate tree serves as a raw material for the manufacture of alcoholic beverages. Waste serve as a cattle. The most valuable part is seeds (beans) - raw materials for receiving cocoa butter, chocolate, cocoa powder in the production of food. Cocoa oil is included in separate medicines, also used in cosmetology. Particular microelements, organic acids, minerals, fats, vitamins are good for health. The cocoa drink tones and quickly saturates the body, especially useful to physical labor workers, athletes for rapid restoration of forces. Chocolate is useful to vessels and heart, has the properties of an antioxidant.
It is undesirable to use cocoa to pregnant women due to the ability to prevent the assimilation of calcium. And it should also be remembered about 0.2% caffeine contained in beans.
From the history of popularity of cocoa beans
The countries of the old light cocoa beans are brought in the XVI century, after the opening and conquest of the American continent. The Spaniards first noticed what value the Indians in the seeds of this plant were seen. Cocoa tree was considered to be sacred with divine origins. The value of the fruit was so great that they were changed to slaves. Spain has become the first among European countries that has tried this product and more than a century not allowed to export it outside their borders.
For a long time, Europeans prepared only a drink from them - hot chocolate. This pleasure allowed only wealthy people. The first solid chocolate tile created the Swiss confectioner in 1819. But before, Switzerland's cooking came up with the technology of seed processing with the extraction of oil and the subsequent preparation of the powder. Today products with chocolate seeds are available to most people, this is one of the most popular ingredients of confectionery delicacies.
Cocoo-wonderful drink, he loves both children and adults, amazingly it fills the space comfortably, improving the mood and warming. Where does it take a cocoa and chocolate, from which they do and what it is useful?
Chocolate trees grow in the subequatorial and tropical regions, they are cocoa. So Cocoa is a tree, and its fruits, and the powder obtained from them and the drink itself. And the same seeds are the basis for the preparation of chocolate.
Cocoa is a large tree about 15m high. His feature is the fetus attachment to the tree trunk, and not to the branches. The fruit is large, similar to a ribbed melon and containing cocoa beans (from 20 to 60 pcs). As fruits ripening, and this process lasts 4 months, their color varies from green, yellow, red to brown, or light cocoa.
In favorable conditions, Cocoa flows and fruits all year round, starting from the fifth year of life. However, the cultivation of these trees is a heavy physical work.
Fruits growing are neatly cut off (it is impossible to damage the bark - infection can penetrate into the tree). Fruits dissect into several parts and stacked in barrels or wrapped in the foliage of banana palm trees. 10 days the process of fermentation of the white pulp of the fetus continues, while the germination of seeds is inhibited and bitterness is out of them. Then - drying under the hot rays of the sun or in the dryers. With good drying, the beans are doubled (they usually roasted them already in production). And then the beans go to countries producing chocolate.
The first thing that is done in production is to peat beans and get Curious cocoa.
Curious cocoa squeeze cocoa oil - It is the basis of any real chocolate.
But the cake, which remains after the oil is obtained, crushed - this is Cocoa powder .
Shell husks Cocoa Beans also goes into business - she and in animal feed enters, it can be mulched to the soil, it is excellent fuel and in medicine is valued as the causative agent of the muscles of the heart and nervous system.
- the drink of a chocolate tree is beneficial to memory, reduces pressure and improves brain circulation;
- Cocoa is an excellent assistant in the fight against stress, it contributes to physical relaxation and at the same time strengthens the bone;
- in cocoa beans just a huge concentration of iron - its use is an excellent assistant with anemia;
- Cocoa maintains a normal blood glucose in the body;
- Cocoa contains a unique substance that causes euphoria, increasing the level of the Hormon of Happiness Endorphin.
The best time of consumption of cocoa - in the morning or afternoon, thanks to the not too high caffeine content with children can be given it from two years.
Is it possible to grow a indoor cocoa tree?
In room conditions it is difficult to do it, it will be better for a warm greenhouse or a winter garden - after all, we need a stable temperature not lower than 20 degrees and not higher than 30, constant air humidity, loose soil and good drainage. Upburn - nitrogen fertilizers or infusion of a cowboat. You can breed with cuttings. The plant is categorically afraid of drafts, convergence and sunburn.
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Probably not in the light of such a person who would not love chocolate. But not everyone knows that they receive the favorite delicacy of children and adults from the fruit of cocoa wood. We find out where it grows this tree, and how from his fruits they receive a friend of chocolate tile or a delicious invigorating drink.
What is it, chocolate tree
The first Europeans were so fascinated by the taste of a drink from the fruits of this tree, which called him theobroma, which translated from the ancient Greek meant "Food of the Gods". Subsequently, Karl Linney legalized this name in his scientific classification.
Cocoa, or chocolate tree, refers to evergreen trees. It grows in hot areas of South America, and cultivated in a hot and humid climate around the world because of its seeds - cocoa beans is the most valuable ingredient of chocolate. Cocoa tree grows up to 12 m in height. The leaves grow alternately, thin, evergreen. Small pink and white flowers grow straight from the trunk and large branches.
Flowers of wood cocoa flowers are not a bee, but small flies - hoarses.
Cocoa has another interesting feature - its flowers are not growing on branches, but on the trunk itself. Fruits in the form are similar to the elongated lemon with longitudinal grooves. In length, they reach 30 cm and weigh to 0.5 kg. Inside each fetal is from 20 to 60 seeds surrounded by blesses loose meakty. The fruit matures on average for 4 months.
How to cook Cocoa Indians
Studies of scientists have shown that the cocoa trees were cultivated by the ancient Maya. They considered cocoa with a sacred drink and prepared for the most important ceremonies. Aztec worshiped him as a gift of God Ketzalcoatlia. The Indians were calculated by precious beans at the conclusion of transactions and cooked spicy drink from them, which was very different from the cocoa usual for us. Only standing on the highest steps of hierarchy could try it.
Europeans from Indian food gods introduced Cortes. When the beans got to Europe, medieval doctors described their effects: "With moderately, the potion is refreshed and gives strength, softens the temper and calms the heart." At first, the drink from cocoa was filled with various spices, and when they guessed to add sugar to it, the real boom on chocolate began in Europe, as a hot drink, giving strength.
At the court of Louis XIV, hot chocolate had the fame of love potion.
At the beginning of the IX, the production of chocolate reached a new level. Dutchman Konrad Wang Hoyten invented a method of extracting chocolate wood and powder from beans. Of these, it was already possible to prepare a real solid chocolate in the form of a well-known tile. A drink based on cocoa powder cost cheaply, so even poor people could afford it.
How to grow cocoa wood
In nature, chocolate trees are common in the tropical regions of South America, and cultural plantations are found in the warm and wet edges of the whole world. A significant part of the export of cocoa beans produced African countries.
Cocoa Wood requires certain conditions for growing:
- stable temperature in the range of 20 ° C;
- high humidity;
- Scattered sun rays.
The last factor is provided by planting cocoa trees under the shadow of tall palm trees, and the crown is formed so that they do not grow above 6 m. Fruit plant begins at 5-6 years and continues on average up to 30 years. Patriarchs among cocoa live up to 80 years. Fruits harvest produce twice a year - in front of the end and the beginning of the rain period.
To obtain 1 kg of cocoa powder, about 40 fruits or 1200 beans are needed.
At the plantations still use the labor of children. Large companies that are purchased beans are constantly being exposed to criticism around the world, but they are not going to stop inhuman practices.
Meanwhile, the world production of cocoa beans grows every year. If in 1965, around 1230 thousand tons were gathered all over the world, then by 2010 it increased to 4230 thousand tons. The export of cocoa leads the African state of Côte d'Ivoire.
Sort of chocolate tree
There are several types of cocoa wood. They differ among themselves to taste the qualities of beans and the intricacies of agrotechnology:
- Cryilla is a rare variety growing only in Central America and Mexico. Chilllo is complicated in cultivation due to a variety of diseases. Chirolate Cryilla's variety is distinguished by a pleasant aroma and a gentle nut flavor.
- The national has been made only in South America. Products from this variety of beans have specific taste and is rarely found, as the trees grow in a limited range and are also susceptible to diseases.
- Trinitario. The variety is obtained by crossing two types - Cryilla and Forastero. Distributed all over the world, since the beans have excellent taste, and trees are resistant to diseases.
- Fausto is the most famous grade, which takes up to 80% of the world release. Trees grow rapidly and plentifully fruit. Chocolate of this variety is distinguished by a characteristic bitter note with an acidic tinge.
Recycling Cocoa Bobov
Collection and extraction of beans from fruits is a very laborious process. Almost all actions are made manually. Cocoa fruits are harvested by hand, cutting them off with a special knife machete, cut into several parts and laid for a while for fermentation between the leaves of the banana. During this time, the beans are dumping and gaining a characteristic fragrance.
After fermentation, the beans are dried in the sun, stirring regularly. Dried beans losing up to half of their masses.
Then they are referred to in bags of jute and sent for further processing.
In processing factories, oil press oil with presses from beans, and the spin is used to prepare powder.
The benefits and harm of chocolate
In moderate doses, cocoa bob products are extremely useful. They contain vitamins A, B, E, foliaic acid. Cocoa prevents the processes of aging and strengthens the heart and vessels. Cocoa oil is used in medicine and cosmetology as a basis for the preparation of ointments, creams, lotions.
Products containing cocoa are not useful for everyone. Do not recommend them to use pregnant women - it complicates the absorption of calcium. Because of the high caffeine content, they are undesirable in the nutrition of children under 3 years old. It is also not necessary to get involved in chocolate people suffering from diabetes.
Video about growing cocoa wood
Where cocoa beans grow
There are few people who do not like chocolate. This delicacy is known to us from the earliest childhood. The main ingredient in this dessert - cocoa, whose history goes far into the past. And before getting chocolate in this form in which we are accustomed to everything, it passes a long way: from collecting cocoa beans to processing and cooking.
In the botanist, the "chocolate tree" is called "Theobroma Cocoa", which means "Food of the Gods". But it also has other climbing - "brown gold", which received due to rich properties, saturated taste and charming aroma in long century. If you believe stories, then it was called during the existence of Maya and Aztec Indians.
But where is the cocoa chocolate tree grow and when it was first discovered? Turning to historical data, then the first Europeans became acquainted with the fruits of this plant in 1519. These were the people of Cortes (Spanish Conquistador, who conquered Mexico and completely destroyed the statehood of Aztecs). They seized more than 25 thousand cquetners of Cocoa from the leader of the Aztec (the beans of this tree were collected from the local population as a tax). Cortes received not only the beans themselves, but also information that this plant has therapeutic properties.
It is thanks to Fernando Cortes de Montra in Europe in the XVI century began to use vanilla and chocolate.
Over time, this fruit has learned to handle and began to be widely used in cooking and cosmetology.
See also: " Chocolate and coffee history »
Motherland Cocoa Tree and Growing Features
So where do they grow cocoa? This evergreen tree grows in South America (in its most roaring areas). It is cultivated from its seeds (cocoa beans) worldwide (where there is hot and humid conditions). Height can grow up to 12 meters. But it affects the climate again. For example, in the homeland of a cocoa tree (that is, in South America), it is more "rich" and fruitful.
To get a good harvest, this tree requires the optimum air temperature (from 21 to 30 degrees Celsius) and abundant sediments, the annual level of which should not be lowered below 100 cm. Due to the weak root system, the cocoa trees do not like strong and impetuous winds.
Interesting feature: Flowers are not growing on branches, but on the very trunk of cocoa wood.
The methods of selection made it possible to remove the grade of the plant, the height of which does not exceed 3 meters in height. This greatly simplified the task of harvesting.
But where do they grow cocoa yet? From the most popular countries you can allocate:
Amazing fact: Despite the fact that cocoa trees can reach in a height of about 12 meters, nevertheless are those macupus that does not exceed 6 meters.
Now you know where cocoa beans grow. Let's talk about popular varieties of this plant.
Main varieties of cocoa beans
It is from the variety that the quality of the product and its taste features depends. Of great importance is the fact that chocolate beans grow, with what temperature and air humidity indicators.
The most common varieties include:
- "Fausto". This is the most popular and popular view of cocoa, which is highly appreciated worldwide. In terms of production, it also stands in the first place, because the ratio of the harvest compared to the rest of Cocoa varieties is 80%. The tree of this variety Cocoa is mainly growing in Africa.
- "Cryilla". This cocoa tree grade grows in Central America and Mexico. But despite the fact that they give a rich harvest, still plants often sick. This is due to the tree reaction to various harmful effects and weather phenomena. In the segment market, you can find about 10% of this cocoa variety.
- "Trinitario". This kind of cocoa appeared by crossing the two previous varieties. The risk loss of harvest is minimized, because the trees are very rarely sick. Fruits have a thin fragrance and rich taste. Due to the fact that the view was obtained by crossing, cocoa beans possess a pleasant bitterness. Optimal conditions for cultivation were found on the territory of South Asia. However, here it is a tree and grown.
- "National". This variety has a pleasant, resistant aroma. The process of cultivation takes a lot of time and strength. The plant often sicks, quickly responds to all sorts of environmental impacts. Grown in South America. The percentage in the segment market of this variety is minimal, it is extremely rare.
See also: " White and dark chocolate - what is real? »
How to collect cocoa beans
For the assembly, long steel tools are used (to cut down the beans), as well as mittens. Such protection is necessary not to man himself, but a plant. After all, it is known that cocoa beans grow on the tree - his trunk is very gentle and reacts sharply to all sorts of damage (even minor). In this matter it is extremely important not to damage the soft bark of the tree.
To remove pods that grow close to Earth, machete can be used. The fruits are reset to the ground, and then carefully collected in a deep soft basket. But the collection is carried out not the beans themselves, but the pods in which they are. Only after they are taken out of the pods, the beans are packaged in the boxes or fold into small heaps. And they are placed on the leaves of the banana tree.
Next, the process of natural fermentation (this is a very important step). Its duration can be from three days to one week. Only after the beans under the action of the Sun are dried, they are poured into bags of natural material. Packed products are subject to wholesaler.
When the beans deliver to the manufacturer, they pass a thorough check. Sometimes additional drying is required. Non-quality cocoa fruits are rejected. Quality control is carried out according to strict conditions. Depending on the preferences and objectives of the use of cocoa beans, they are squeezed, if necessary.
For the production of chocolate, they make a special thick paste. Only then additional ingredients are introduced.
See also: " Chocolate Soviet times »
Useful properties of cocoa
Cocoa beans are a real storehouse of nutrients and trace elements. The use of this drink has a beneficial effect on the works of physical and mental labor. A person becomes more focused, his memory improves, active thinking processes are launched. Contrary to the problem, a naturally helps to normalize the nervous system. Significantly affects the presence of good mood.
From the useful elements that are part of cocoa, allocate:
- Flavonoids. These substances reduce the risk of drainage diabetes, normalize the work of the heart-vascular system. But we note that in the manufacture of chocolate, the main part of this element is removed. This is due to the fact that the flavonoid gives bitterness to the product.
- Epicatechin. Improves brain circulation, favorably affects memory. Also noticeably significant reduction in blood pressure.
Note that the cocoa drink due to the large content of this substance is largely useful than green tea and berries that have epicatechin in their composition.
- Chromium. Holds the normal state of blood glucose levels.
- Magnesium. Allows you to fight stress, eliminates depressive state. Strengthens the bone system, and also relaxes muscles with their strong tension.
- Iron. Helps fight anemia.
- Anandamide. It has a positive effect on the work of the brain. Improves blood circulation, memory and thought processes. Causes the feeling of euphoria. Enhances the level of endorphine.
It is a chocolate tree that is the only plant, the fruits of which contain anandine in its composition. Analogs are simply not in nature.
Cocoa contains other useful macro and trace elements. It:
Its composition has vitamins A, B, E, RR, as well as substances such as:
- Organic acids
- Saturated fatty acids.
Cocoa beans are the perfect source of antioxidants. They prevent the increase in the number of free radicals in the body. In addition, they fight a detrimental effect on the organism of the environment.
Clinical studies have proven that the antioxidant force of this plant largely exceeds similar indicators of berries, green tea and apples.
Regular use of cocoa beverage or chocolate has a beneficial effect on the skin and hair condition. Helps losing weight. Used in folk medicine in the quality of medicine from many diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. Cocoa helps perfectly and in case of a cold. To get rid of dryness and cracks on the skin, you can use dry cocoa powder. This product leads to normal blood cholesterol.
See also: " How to cook cocoa from childhood? »
But this plant not only has beneficial properties, there are quite interesting facts about cocoa, which should be known about.
Interesting facts about cocoa
- This plant began to grow more than 3,500 years ago, despite the fact that widespread cocoa received only in the XVI century.
- Ancient Aztecs used fruit as money.
- For a long time, the cocoa drink was under the strict ban in Europe. Representatives of the Catholic Church believed that he spoils, pollutes the blood of people.
- In Central America, spirits made alcoholic beverages from the rebound fruits of chocolate wood.
- To make only 1 kg of cocoa powder, you will need to use 40 chocolate fruits. At the same time, the total number of beans can be 1,200 pieces.
- Due to the fact that the cocoa tree does not tolerate the effect of direct sunlight, it is always grown in forests surrounded by coconut and banana palm trees.
- Adult trees are capable of fruit throughout the whole year.
Chocolate trees are grown for the production of Cocoa drink or chocolate. This is a heavy and long-term process, since high crops of the tree gives starting from 12 years of life and only a few dozen fruits are formed every year ...
For the production of a drink "Cocoa" or chocolate grown special trees - Chocolate trees or cocoa . This is the form of evergreen trees from the kind ofobroma.
The plant comes from South America's subcorvatory regions, cultivated throughout the light in the tropics of both hemispheres for the sake of obtaining seeds used in the confectionery industry (mainly as the main ingredient of chocolate) and medicine. In short, Cocoa also call the cocoa wood seeds and powder obtained from them; The same name is also the drink itself.
Description of chocolate tree
The chocolate tree is a large tree, reaching a height of up to 12 meters. Branches and leaves are located along the periphery of the crown, where there is more light.
In the wild, a chocolate tree grows on the coast of Mexico, in the tropical forests of Central and South America.
For cocoa, the cauliflory is characteristic - the fruits are attached not to the branches, but directly to the tree trunk. The fruit is large, beagle-like, the form is similar to lemon, but is equipped with longitudinal furrows, between which rollers pass. Cocoa fruit contains from 20 to 60 large seeds (cocoa beans) located in several rows and surrounded by a whitish pulp. Nutrient tissue in them is a little developed, and seedlies are folded. The fruit resembles a large cucumber or an elongated melon, completely matures in 4 months.
Below will present several photos of different varieties of chocolate wood, where fruits are located at different stages of maturation.
Motherland Cocoa are the rainforest of Amazon, but after the great geographical discoveries of cocoa and coffee, as it were, they exchanged the ranges: Cocoa is most intensively cultivated in subequatorial Africa, there are 69% of the world's crop cocoa beans. The largest producer - Côte d'Ivoire (the state in West Africa), which accounts for about 30% of the annual harvest in the whole world. Other large manufacturers are (in descending order): Indonesia, Ghana, Nigeria, Brazil, Cameroon, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Malaysia and Colombia. The lowest medium yield is observed in Central America.
Chocolate tree is grown in almost all sub-screenific countries lying between 20º North and South latitude. Only in these latitudes the climate is sufficiently warm and wet. Cocoa trees do not endure the direct action of sun rays, this feature is taken into account on plantations, the necessary shading is achieved by mixed plantings of coconut palm trees, banana, rubber, mang trees and avocado. Local trees are partially used. Thus, a certain protection against wind is created, and the height of trees is limited to 6 meters, which makes it easier to harvest. Without this measure, the cocoa tree could reach 15 meters of height.
In favorable conditions, the evergreen Cocoa tree blooms yearly and fruits all year round. The first flowers appear on the tree aged 5-6 years. Fruits are formed within 30-80 years. Ripening, yellow-green or red, depending on the variety, the fruits reach 30 cm of length and weight to 500 grams. The fruit pulp is contained up to 50 cocoa beans. High crops Tree gives, starting from 12 years of life. The harvest is going twice a year, the first time at the end of the rainy season before starting droughts, and the second time - before the start of the rainy season. The first crop is considered better.
The cultivation of cocoa trees is a very hard and low-paid work. In each tree, only a few dozen fruits are formed annually (despite the fact that the flowers can be up to six thousand). To obtain 1 kg of the cooch cocoa, it is necessary about 40 fruits (about 1,200 cocoa beans). The method of breeding cocoa differs from the continent to the continent. In America, this is predominantly large plantations, whereas in Africa are small small enterprises. At the plantations still used child labor, because of which the purchasing cocoa beans transnational corporations are regularly criticized by human rights defenders.
Harvesting and processing
Fruits growing directly from the trunk, machetta experienced assemblers. Fruit collection should be carried out without damaging the tree bark in order to avoid infections.
The collected fruits dissect the machete to several parts and fold out on banana leaves or fit into the barrels. White, containing sugar pulp the fetus begins to wander and reaches a temperature of 50 ° C. Seed germination is inhibited by alcohol distinguished in the process of fermentation, while the beans lose some of their bitterness. During this ongoing 10 days of fermentation of beans, their typical aromatic and flavor properties and color are obtained.
Drying is traditionally carried out under the rays of the Sun, and in some areas - due to climatic conditions - in drying furnaces. Drying in traditional drying furnaces, however, can lead to an unsuitable bean for chocolate production due to the taste of smoke. This problem was solved only with the advent of modern heat exchange plants.
After drying, the beans losing about 50% of their original size, and then packaged in bags and are sent to the chocolate chocolate and North America: 18% of the world's harvest is purchased by the Netherlands, 9% - United Kingdom. In importing countries, the beans are processed into the wool cocoa, cocoa butter, cocoa powder, cocoell, etc.
Cocoa beans , or cocoa beans - Almond-shaped seeds contained in the fruit (pod) of a chocolate tree. The source of cocoa powder and cocoa oils from which chocolate is made.
Cocoa beans consist of 40-50% of fat, called cocoa butter, and dry substances from which cocoa powder is obtained. The shell separated from beans is crushed into a meal, which is called Cocaell.
After removing from the fetus, the cocoa seeds for about a week are fermented in the ventilated boxes, dried in the sun (less often with heated air) and fry, while they are hard and darken. Dried Bob weighs about 1 g.
At the end of the drying, the beans are assembled in bags in which the beans can be stored from six months (simple jute bags) to two years (a plastic bag is inserted into the jute), and exported for subsequent processing into confectionery enterprises of developed countries, where they first roasted, and then quickly Cool. When pressing (on special devices), roasted beans are easily disintegrated into cocoall (18%) and cocoa-grooves (82%).
When crushing, each bob is split into 4-8 particles of about 8 mm in size, which are then processed with a pitch, which is necessary for the destruction of fungi and microorganisms. The resulting groove on the rollers or mills is crushed to a woo cocoa, from which cocoa butter is squeezed under high pressure on hydraulic presses.
At the end of the press of oil from the press at a temperature of about 90 ° unloaded skimpinal cocoa-cake, which is grinding into cocoa powder.
The cocoa beans contain about 300 different substances, of which each sixth is responsible for the specific scent of cocoa. The most important of them: anandamide, arginine, dopamine (neurotransmitter), epicatecine (antioxidant), histamine, magnesium, tryptophan, phenylethylamine, polyphenol (antioxidant), tiramine and salselinol. Calorie is 565 kcal.
There are two basic cocoa bob base groups - "noble" ( Kriolio ) and "consumer" ( Forastero) . The fruits of the first group are red and soft, the second is yellow and solid. Krilario has a nut taste, and Forastero is noticeably weaker than it is bitten.
Since the taste of cocoa depends not only on genetic features, but also from soil and climatic conditions, along with cocoa varieties, confectioners pay attention to the field of their cultivation. When processing cocoa beans of various varieties and origin is often mixed to obtain an optimal fragrance (bouquet) and taste.
Main products from cocoa
Valuable product obtained by pressing ground beans - cacao butter - serves as the basis of chocolate, and is also widely used in perfumes for the preparation of cosmetic ointments and in pharmacology. A dry residue after pressing is grinding and in the form of cocoa powder is used to prepare cocoa drink, as well as in food production. The beans husk is crushed for later use as feed for livestock (Cocaell).
Residents of the Mexican state of Oaxaca, from time immemorial, mixed by a minor cocoa with maize flour to obtain a beverage, called thekhat.
In antiquity, Cocoa was used to treat the upper respiratory tract, throat and larynx diseases. The action on the body of a large amount of cocoa is the subject of annually published studies. The findings to which scientists come, do not always coincide:
- At the annual congress of American cardiologists in November 2006, a report was presented that bioactive compounds in dark chocolate with a cocoa content of more than 70% reduce platelet gluing.
- Professor Harvard University Norman Gallinberg during comparative studies came to the conclusion that epicatechin contained in Cocoa can reduce the incidence of four of the five most common diseases of Europe (stroke, myocardial infarction, cancer and diabetes). The scientific society reacted to this publication with caution; To confirm the hypothesis of Hollenberg, additional research will be needed.
- In 2010, there were reports of the benefits of dark chocolate for people suffering from liver diseases, due to the high content of antioxidants in it. At the same time, patients with cirrhosis traditionally advise to avoid products from cocoa.
It should be borne in mind that commercial cocoa products, including chocolate, often contain unhealthy impurities. As a rule, they differ in high sugar content, and in inexpensive chocolate varieties add substitutes for cocoa oils (for example, hydrogenated palm or coconut oil).
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