61 Cacao Plant Facts You Need To Know If You Love Chocolates | Kidadl

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61 Cacao Plant Facts You Need To Know If You Love Chocolates

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The worldwide consumption of chocolate is estimated to be 7.2 million tons.

The cacao pod and cocoa beans are used to make chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, cocoa solids, and chocolates. Theobroma cacao, from the family Malvaceae, also called the cacao tree, is a small evergreen tree.

Chocolates can have the crunchiness of roasted almonds or other nuts and can be bitter or sweet. Valentine's day accounts for 5% of total chocolate sales.

Let's get started to know about the journey chocolates takes from the cacao seed to reach millions of people worldwide. We have some interesting facts for you if you're a chocolate lover. If you're enjoying this article, take a look at our other articles on cotton plant facts and coffee plant facts here on Kidadl.

Fun Facts About Cacao Plants

We all enjoy chocolate and its varieties. Cocoa or chocolate became a symbolic gesture after featuring in the Mayan culture. The cacao tree bears the fruit. It takes five years for a cocoa tree to deliver its first cocoa beans. 10 years is the growing period for cacao pods. Cocoa beans are now called 'cocoa' beans and not 'cacao' beans because of a spelling mistake made by English importers in the 18th century when chocolate was becoming popular.

Cacao trees can be as tall as 13-26 feet (4-8 m) and sometimes reach up to 32 ft (9.7 m). Cacao trees blossom year-round with cocoa flowers. However, if not pollinated, these flowers die within 24 hours. You can enjoy a hot cup of chocolate on a cold winter's night or a chocolate ice cream cone under the sun. A dark chocolate cake with roasted nuts on birthdays is heavenly. You might enjoy a delicious chocolate bar or even a chocolate pudding for dessert after a meal of scrumptious food. A plain bar of chocolate to savor can ward off any bad mood.

Uses Of Cacao Plants

Cacao beans have been linked to numerous health benefits. The pods are of the richest sources of polyphenols. Polyphenols are natural antioxidants found in foods like fruits, cocoa beans, vegetables, tea, chocolate, and wine. 0.0017 - 0.0021 oz (50–60mg) of caffeine is found in 2 oz (56 g) of 70% dark chocolate. Another use of cacao beans is making cocoa butter.

Cocoa beans are rich in flavanols and have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Benefits of the cocoa plant include reduced inflammation, lower blood pressure, better blood flow, better blood sugar levels, and improved cholesterol. Flavanol-rich cocoa beans improve the level of nitric oxide in your blood that helps relax and dilate arteries and blood vessels and improves blood flow. Pods have also been found to reduce LDL cholesterol and have a blood thinning effect similar to aspirin. The sensory pleasure of eating chocolate is due to the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin.

Cacao Plants Growing Conditions

It takes five years for a cacao seed to become a fruiting tree. Cacao trees require specific conditions, which include nitrogen-rich soil, uniform temperatures, abundant rain, high humidity, and protection from wind to bear fruit.

Cacao bean seeds from a cacao pod need to be moist after their removal from the pod. If dry, they lose their viability. Cacao bean seeds begin sprouting from the pod which is normal. If the seeds have no roots, place them between damp paper towels in a warm area until they begin to root. Place the rooted beans in different pots filled with damp seed starters. Place the seed in a vertical position with the root facing downwards, and ensure there is enough soil to cover the seed.

Cover the beans with plastic wrap and position them on a germination mat to help balance their temperature at 80 F (27 C). In about five to eight days, the bean sprouts. By this time, the wrap can be removed, and the seedlings can be put in a partially shaded place. The ripe pods or beans are removed for harvesting, which involves opening them to extract the wet cocoa beans.

Cacao trees typically do not begin to bear fruits for six to eight years. The cacao tree usually gets harvested biannually. However, these trees can flower and fruit throughout the years. The upper Amazon hybrid cocoa tree produces the most fruit at the earliest age.

The world's leading producers of cocoa beans are Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire, South America, and Indonesia.

the journey chocolates takes from the cacao seed

Facts About Cacao Fruit

Cacao trees and their cacao pods grow mainly in hot, tropical, rainy climates. Cacao trees are found 20 degrees north and south of the equator.

The Aztec emperor, Montezuma, originally named chocolate Xocolatl, which translates to bitter water, and it was considered a divine drink with health benefits. One cup of this precious drink apparently let a person go without food for an entire day. In 1519, when Cortez defeated Montezuma, the conquistadors found huge quantities of cocoa beans rather than gold, precious metals, or even silver.

The chocolate that people in Switzerland consumes per capita is more than any other nation on Earth. In 1502, Christopher Columbus discovered cacao beans after intercepting a trade ship on a journey to America and thus brought cocoa beans back to Spain with him.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for 61 cacao plant facts then why not take a look at Columbine plant facts or bean plant facts.

Written By
Sridevi Tolety

Sridevi's passion for writing has allowed her to explore different writing domains, and she has written various articles on kids, families, animals, celebrities, technology, and marketing domains. She has done her Masters in Clinical Research from Manipal University and PG Diploma in Journalism From Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. She has written numerous articles, blogs, travelogues, creative content, and short stories, which have been published in leading magazines, newspapers, and websites. She is fluent in four languages and likes to spend her spare time with family and friends. She loves to read, travel, cook, paint, and listen to music.

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