Chocolate & Cacao
Every year the volume of cacao sold to the United States increases. More and more people are consuming cacao and chocolate than ever before. Many people are surprised at the nutrients it contains such as vitamin C, fiber and iron. Are you surprised? You may be even more surprised to find that raw Cacao contains more antioxidant flavonoids than red wine, green tea and blueberries.
Wilderness Family Naturals offers only USDA Certified Organic cacao!
Both our Raw Cacao Powder and Our Raw Cacao Nibs have been tested for heavy metals.
These chocolate ingredients are conveniently packaged for the conscientious cook who wants to use quality chocolate in his/her creations. Some of these ingredients are made from Cacao beans that have been fermented. Fermented beans have a rich, bitter chocolate taste. Other ingredients are made from unfermented beans which create ingredients that are milder in flavor but still contain a chocolate flavor and the highest ORAC scores.
The Unfermented Raw Cacao Ingredients are from the Dominican Republic.
The Fermented Raw Cacao Ingredients are from Peru.
These foods are created by combining Wilderness Family Naturals' Raw Cacao Powder with a natural sweetener. They include items such as:
More information about Chocolate
Chocolate originates from the bean (or seed) of a tree that grows in tropical areas of the world. This tree is called a Cacao tree and is predominately found in countries within 10-20 degrees latitude of the equator. The trees need warm, humid weather and loose, rich soil. They like shaded sunlight. Since cacao trees prefer shade, banana trees, rubber trees or coconut palms are often planted beside the cacao tree in the orchards.
The Cacao tree forms large seed pods. Inside the pods are the beans (or seeds) which eventually become the basis for chocolate. It takes 5-6 months for the cacao pods to develop. The trees are generally harvested twice a year, but can be harvested any time.
To harvest, the pods are first cut off from the tree with a machete. Each pod is opened and the beans are separated from the fibers of the pod. To make fermented cacao products, these beans are then laid on a flat surface, covered with banana leaves and allowed to ferment. As the seeds ferment they go from a light off-white color to a purplish color and finally turn dark brown. During this process they also become wrinkled. The fermentation process takes 2-3 days.
Once fermentation is complete, these whole cacao beans are dried to a moisture content of approximately 1%. The drying of the bean greatly retards fermentation and lowers the microbial count. Once dried, these beans are ready for shipment as whole beans unless they undergo further processing to create cacao nibs, or cacao powder and cacao butter.
Non-fermented cacao products are made from the same cacao beans as described above except that once the pods are opened and beans separated there is no fermenting. That step is simply "skipped". Raw cacao products such as non-fermented cacao powder and non-fermented cacao butter have a milder chocolate flavor than fermented cacao. The "bitter chocolate" taste that is prevalent in most chocolates is greatly subdued when there is no fermentation and non-fermented cacao/chocolate is significantly milder (not as strong).
How Cacao Nibs are Made:
Whole beans require peeling by the consumer before they can be eaten. The outside "hull" is similar to the shell of a peanut and can easily be removed. This is tedious and very time consuming, so most people prefer to purchase the nibs rather than the whole bean.
To create cacao nibs, the whole, dried beans are placed into a machine that runs a "roller" across them. This breaks up the bean and cracks the thin shell. The chaff is then removed leaving only the broken cacao bean, which is called a nib. These delicious cacao nibs do not contain any dairy, sugar, or additives. They are simply the raw, broken cacao bean that has had the outer shell removed. Many people use these nibs in smoothies. They can also be added to bars, cookies, yogurt, granola and trail mixes for a natural chocolate crunch. Some people use them like chocolate chips to decorate desserts! Choose from fermented raw cacao nibs for a stronger taste that is more like bitter chocolate, and non-fermented raw cacao nibs if you prefer a mild chocolate flavor that does not require any sweetening.
How Our Cacao Powder and Cacao Butter are Made:
Once the cacao nib has been produced, if cacao powder and cacao butter are desired, the nibs are then placed into a machine that grinds the nib and then presses the paste so the oil (cacao butter) is gently "pressed out" or separated from the fiber, water soluble antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. Raw cacao powder can be made from both fermented and non-fermented cacao beans. For a milder chocolate flavor, the non-fermented powder (made from non-fermented beans) would be recommended. For recipes that use some type of sweetening and an intense chocolate flavor is required, the fermented powder would be best.
Organic, Raw Cacao Butter:
Raw cacao butter made from unfermented cacao beans, like raw cacao powder, tastes and smells like chocolate, though not as strongly. It is a natural, light beige color and melts in your mouth. This is the main ingredient in white chocolate. Many people love using natural cacao butter for cookies and bars because they tend to remain soft and moist after baking and dissolve in the mouth like a chocolate candy. The separated oil/butter is not refined or processed any further. It is poured into an oval 1# mold and allowed to cool into a solid. The original cacao bean is about 1/2 oil/butter and half fiber/nutrients so for every pound of cacao powder that is produced a pound of raw cacao butter is also produced.
Organic, Raw Cacao Powder:
The "pressed cake," which is other product from the pressing contains mostly fiber and nutrients. This special cake is carefully broken up into tiny flour-like particles which is then known as cacao powder.
None of our cacao products have been roasted or alkalinized (a process that uses Sodium Hydroxide to enhance the chocolate flavor).
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