Updated: Nov 23, 2022
September 10 • Oonagh Browne
Join the Cacao Revolution - eating 8 beans a day in many different ways!! This is sharing how we can walk alongside our brothers and sisters of the Pacific Islands as they grow in discovering how to include Cacao as an amazing every day food. You just need to follow the three steps outlined below and you too can enjoy Cacao daily! You can nourish your Body, Heart and Mind in a real way with the Super Cacao Bean. By you enjoying the Cacao beans daily, great discoveries will be made in new ways to use them. The Cacao trees share that only 40% of what this incredible food can be used for, has been thought of by the human mind. These Photos were taken in the Solomon Islands, October 2019/March 2020, where with the sponsorship of Strongim Bisnis of Australian Aid, we showed the villages and Regional Training Centres how to use their own Cacao beans on a daily basis. Its a thrilling time for Cacao as we open the doors for it to become a daily food. Our hearts will sing when Cacao is center stage on the dinner table, alongside salt and pepper, as will yours for She is such a heart opener! Eating this food daily will change your life!
What the Cacao Trees have to say:
“We are for these times. We have been quite for thousands of years in the jungles and now its time for our voice to be heard and our medicine available to support today’s western life . We are here for you to bring joy and openness to all that is in front of you. The Cacao Trees ” STEP 1 Source high quality, fermented, sun dried beans. Ideally source beans where the origin and the quality of the farmers lives is known.. The beans can be stored for years. Just store in a air tight container.
Beans roasting over an open fire, filling the entire village with the aroma, Guadalcanal Solomon Islands.
Slowly roast the beans. This can be done in the oven but it is best if they are slow roasted on a frying pan over a gently heat so the wonder of the experience can be fully enjoyed. Turn the stove on medium and allow the pan to warm up and then turn the heat down to low. Place the beans on the pan ensuring all beans touch the surface(like making pop corn). The pan should never get hot(you should be able to hold your hand over the pan and it feel comfortably warm). Allow the beans to sit for a few minutes without moving and then move the beans around. Then allow the beans to sit in one place again for about 30 seconds. Continue this process. This ensures the skins do not burn. The time of roasting will be approx. 8 minutes but it is not an exact science, rather its about you connecting with the beans and with the aroma that is arising. Take a moment to appreciate it. Breath it in - a beautiful chocolate moment of presence. A popping noise will draw you back into your sense of sound as the skins begin to shrink, the cacao butter melts inside the bean in the heat and the bean starts to expand. Note: A low heat is necessary, else the cacao butter inside the bean will burn and there will be a dominate burnt taste from the roasted bean. Once the popping starts, remove the beans from the heat and the pan and allow them to rest for a few minutes. We do this on the ambers of an open fire in the villages. STEP3
Hand peeling the beans: Whilst the beans are still warm, peel them by squeezing the shell which will crack, and remove the whole bean from the shell.
Keep the husk/shell in a jar for Cacao Husk Tea. Allow the whole peeled beans to full cool and store or:
Crush the whole beans to make Cacao nibs.
Now You can enjoy: CACAO HUSK TEA Keep the skins /husks that you have peeled in a glass jar or container for your favourite cup of tea. Boil the water, add a tablespoon of husks and allow to sit for 5 minutes and your cup of Cacao or as they call it in the Solomons, your Kokoa Skinnie tea is ready! And have some fun - experiment with your favourite herbal teas and created blends with the Cacao husks. YUMMO!! WHOLE PEELED BEANS Ideally eat a minimum of 8 whole roasted peeled beans every day. After roasting they will be soft and warm, but as they cool down the cacao butter within the bean will harden and the bean itself will become crunchy. It is a beautiful whole amazing food, bringing minerals, iron, magnesium, your daily source of antioxidants and serotonin to support a whole healthy happy day.. 8 beans a day keeps the doctor away..you can eat more of course - I always do! About twice a week i get up a few minutes earlier then my teenagers and have my Cacao bean roasting time, so I can be fully with the beans and enjoy the magic of these three steps. I then always keep two cups on the bench, one with the roasted whole beans and one for the shells. Every day I carefully count out 8 beans or more depending on how I feel and what is ahead of me for the day, and eat them for breakfast. That's all my body needs first thing in the morning and within 10-15 minutes I experience the boost of positivity and slow extra energy coming through. I will then have a cacao smoothie for morning tea. Note the Cacao bean contains only a minute level of caffeine. It is nothing like coffee. The energy is a slow sustaining release, so wonderful at any time really! CACAO NIBS When the beans cool down, place them in a bag and crush with a rolling pin to make Cacao nibs. This is simply what Cacao nibs are - the roasted peeled bean broken into small pieces. Keep them stored in a glass jar and a personal suggestion is to place on the table with every meal. This is the new salt and pepper and will bring balance of flavour and nutrients to every meal. Add to porridge, granola, smoothies, muffins, bliss balls, add to vanilla yogurt and for savoury, sprinkle over steamed vegetables or fish, add to tossed salads but more then anything, discover your unique way of enjoying them. Having recently become vegan, its is a fundamental nutrient in my diet and of course a fundamental food!
CEREMONAIL CACAO AND HOMEMADE CHOCOLATE
Making Cacao paste: Whilst the beans are still warm, place peeled beans/nibs into a Breville spice & coffee grinder or similar grinder and fill to half way. Start to grind. Hold down for 10 seconds and stop, and keep repeating this process. First the beans will become powder, and this can be also used for smoothies (incredibly healthy for smoothies as the powder still contains the fat and so the health properties are optimised more by the body). After about 5 minutes of blending, the now powder will become a paste as the cacao butter releases. The further you go the smoother your paste / chocolate will be. This will not be as smooth of course as machine ground chocolate, but it will be perfect for homemade chocolate and for ceremony grade Cacao drinks and has its own unique qualities and flavour. Make sure you scrap all chocolate out before it sets! Scrap out with a soft spatula into muffin moulds with a paper cup liner, for example.
OPTIONS from the paste: Ceremonial Cacao Elixir or Hot Chocolate: Place liquid paste from the spice grinder into boiling water and allow to boil intensely to make thick luscious hot chocolate. Sweeten with own choice of sweetner such as honey/coconut sugar/maple syrup.. 40gs of chocolate to 150 mls of water makes the most gorgeous potent Ceremonial hot chocolate. Milk of choice can also be used. The boiling process is key to make the hot chocolate thick - just stand and watch the alchemy that takes place from a watery substance to thick luscious hot chocolate!
Stored 100% chocolate Once you have scraped out the chocolate from the spice grinder, place on baking paper or in a muffin paper cup and allow to set. Once set this can be stored for months and used to: Grate over food or chop up and add to cakes or savoury food or to make hot chocolate at a later date adding sweetner of choice.
Homemade Chocolate Scrap out the liquid chocolate from the grinder into a bowl, add dried fruits, nuts, sweetner of choice and anything and everything really. Spread out on baking paper and allow to set. Break into pieces and eat it all or store for later. It is endless what flavours can be used that will add texture, contrast and look. I love to add lots of cacao nibs for the crunch, hazelnuts, essential oils, and dried fruits for sweetness. This will be untempered chocolate, will taste amazing but won't have the shine or snap that tempered store chocolate has. In the Solomon Islands we are developing a whole new time of untempered chocolate because it does not melt in the heat like tempered chocolate does.
ENJOY BEANS DAILY…As we say in the Solomons - 8 BEANS A DAY KEEPS THE DOCTOR AWAY! Warm roasted peeled beans in a wooden pounder, its a great work out in the heat of the tropics, but incredible because it means every village can make their own chocolate.