Cacao fruit is grown for its edible seeds and is produced by the cacao tree, whose botanical name is Theobroma Cacao meaning the ‘food of the gods.’ in Greek. The cacao tree grows 30 feet tall and bears white flowers, which take about five years to produce cacao’s first fruit. Cacao is commercially grown in western Africa and tropical Asia.
You might be wondering what cacao fruit is and curious to know more about it. Here are some cacao fruit facts.
Helpful cacao fruit facts
- Where are Cacao Trees Found?
Cacao trees need high temperatures, humid conditions, and adequate rainfall to grow successfully. Therefore, they are native to the lowland rainforests of the Amazon and Orinoco river basins and hot, humid regions of Africa and also Asia, central and sound America, and Australia.
- What is the Cultivation Anatomy of Cacao?
Cacao is grown on small, labor-intensive farms because of the hazards of pests and diseases that can spread rapidly. Cacao can also be grown in rainforests as a form of agroforestry. In cacao cultivation, plants are first grown from seeds or cuttings then transplanted. Tree crops like bananas and palm are grown with cacao to provide shade and protect the young trees from the wind.
Cacao varieties can be grouped into 3 major divisions, that is:
- Forastero; forastero variety is commonly used in commercial production.
- Criollo; these are very susceptible to diseases and are not widely grown.
- Trinitario; trinitario is a hybrid of the forastero and criollo varieties.
- What Does Cacao Fruit Look Like?
Cacao fruit is oval-shaped compared to a rugby ball and is usually red or yellow. It is about 15 to 30 centimeters long and 8 to 10 centimeters wide. It can have yellow or red skin, which is tough and leathery to protect the edible pulp and beans.
- Is Cacao Fruit Poisonous?
Excessive consumption of raw cacao could be dangerous. Raw cacao contains theobromine known to cause heart failure, kidney damage, seizures, and dehydration. It is more harmful to dogs and cats because these animals take time to process theobromine compared to human beings.
- What Does Cacao Fruit Tastes Like?
Cacao fruit is a tropical fruit with intense flavors. The pulp is juicy and sweet. Cacao fruit tastes like citrus, mango, or lychee with a smooth floral fruit flavor, creamy to the mouth, and a slightly sour undertone.
- What are the Health Benefits of Cacao?
Cacao is the best source of polyphenols, flavanols, and antioxidants with densely packed fiber, vitamins, and essential minerals like magnesium and iron. Below are some of the health cacao healing properties:
- Cacao increases blood flow to the brain, which helps to strengthen awareness and focus.
- Cacao helps the body to heal, detoxify, and gives your immune system a good boost.
- Cacao lowers your risk of heart attack, stroke, and blood pressure.
- Cacao improves mood to help lower depression and stress and boost your overall mental and physical health.
- Flavanols in cacao help reduce inflammation throughout your body and can lessen the risk of cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Cacao contains fiber that helps improve your digestive health
- What are the Side Effects of Cacao?
Cacao fruit is very powerful on the central nervous system. Eating large quantities might cause caffeine-related effects such as nervousness, increased urination, sleeplessness, fast heartbeat and, can also interfere with calcium retention.
- What are the Uses of Cacao?
Cacao fruit has a wide range of uses in different forms. Cacao pulp is excellent for juicing or adding to smoothies and can also make liquor. In contrast, Cacao powder is added to beverages, yogurt, ice cream, and other desserts for great tastes.
Cacao fruit has excellent effects on our health, and its productivity should therefore be adequate.