Need ideas for using whole cacao pods

I was given a gift certificate to Miami Fruit for Christmas and if I order now I will receive a free box of mixed varieties of cacao. What does one do with something like this? No one is up for making chocolate proper from them , but my husband said he could pull the beans and goop out and freeze them for future use in smoothies. Could chickens peck away at the empty shells or is chocolate bad for them, as well? Will they produce chocolate eggs? :o)

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  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,602 admin

    You could try this:

    Cacao/cocoa/chocolate contains caffeine and methylxanthines theobromine which are both toxic for chickens.

    If you want chocolate eggs, you will either need to go buy the chocolate at the store or you will need to invest in a good line of purebred French Black Copper Marans.


  • Gail H
    Gail H Posts: 359 ✭✭✭✭

    @LaurieLovesLearning Wow! Those eggs are just beautiful.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,602 admin

    @Gail H Thanks! Those dark ones are some of my best. I have learned over time that not all Marans are created equal (notice the very light marans one...that's a poor example). It has taken quite some time to get there. I had to middle with my camera for the first picture to try to get the color true to life. It is close, but the picture is still lighter.

    Now, I need a new to my hens well bred roo to keep up the color. The problem is...covid interrupted that last spring. I am hoping for better this spring.

    But back to the cacao beans gift as I don't want to sidetrack this to become all about my chickens. 😏

    I am looking forward to hearing more ideas!

  • Wendy
    Wendy Posts: 138 ✭✭✭

    Once the cacao pods have been opened and cleaned, the beans are like nuts and can be eaten raw. They taste like cocoa powder, chocolatey and a little bitter. They can also be chopped or food processed and sprinkled over yogurt or added to smoothies.

  • Lisa K
    Lisa K Posts: 1,946 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Lowes used to sell the cacao pods as mulch and MRH sells the roasted shells for teas.

  • Cornelius
    Cornelius Posts: 872 ✭✭✭✭

    Are they pre-roasted? If not, you could try to grow some into your own cacao tree!

  • annbeck62
    annbeck62 Posts: 1,028 ✭✭✭✭

    I've used the beans to make a superfood snack. I soak them to remove the skins then make a "dough" from maca and raw honey. You could really sub the maca for any type of powder you want. Wrap the dough around the bean roll in cacao powder or cinnamon or whatever you want. Raw cacao, honey and maca are all superfoods so it's a delicious treat that's really good for you :)

  • Lisa K
    Lisa K Posts: 1,946 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Marjory Wildcraft just did a great presentation on growing cacao on Stacey's Superfood Garden Summit and I hope it gets posted to the TGN Homepage!

  • Marjory Wildcraft
    Marjory Wildcraft Posts: 1,617 admin

    Hi @Lisa K Thanks for the kind feedback. I had fun making that one. I've promised Stacey Murphy and the GYOV team that I would not use the video anywhere else for a month or so? But yes, after that I'll get @Meri to see if we can post it up somewhere.

    Some of the backstory on that video. Jeff Paul, the owner of the chocolate farm is doing such good work. I see him at the farmers market every weekend. But like most farmers he is struggling to make ends meet. I said "Jeff, I am going to find a way to help you some how". When Stacey invited me to the Super Foods Summit - gosh I was scratching my head at what to offer... micro greens has been done, Kale, spinach, all that stuff has been done. I pushed the envelope of Stacey vegetarianism last year with eggs and liver (LOL),

    I realized chocolate was a super food no one has presented on before. This was also a great way to get Jeff some exposure. Plus I needed an excuse to go out to Jeff's place and see it in person. Beautiful beautiful location. He had so much more than chocolate going on there. I'll have to go back to do more featuring him.

  • Lisa K
    Lisa K Posts: 1,946 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Hi @Marjory Wildcraft Awesome I cannot wait to watch it again!

    I looked at Jeff's website but I only saw seeds that appear to be for consumption, is he planning on providing seeds for growing?