cacao

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cacao

(kəkä`ō, –kā`–), tropical tree (Theobroma cacao) of the family Sterculiaceae (sterculiasterculia
, common name for some members of the Sterculiaceae, a family of herbs, shrubs, and trees of tropical and subtropical regions. The most important members of the family are the cacao, source of cocoa and chocolate, and the cola, the caffeine-rich seeds of which are used
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 family), native to South America, where it was first domesticated and was highly prized by the Aztecs. It has been extensively cultivated in the Old World since the Spanish conquest. The fruit is a pod containing a sweetish pulp in which are embedded rows of seeds, the cocoa "beans" of commerce. To obtain cocoa, the harvested pods are fermented by naturally occurring bacteria and yeasts to eliminate their bitter, astringent quality. The seeds are then cured and roasted. The clean kernels, called cocoa nibs, are manufactured into various products. Their large percentage of fat, removed by pressure, is the so-called cocoa butter used in fine soaps and cosmetics and in medicine for emollients and suppositories; the residue is ground to a powder (cocoa) and used for beverages and flavoring. Chocolatechocolate,
general term for the products of the seeds of the cacao or chocolate tree, used for making beverages or confectionery. The flavor of chocolate depends not only on the quality of the cocoa nibs (the remainder after the seeds are fermented, dried, and roasted) and the
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 is a product in which the cocoa butter has been retained. Cacao products have a high food value because of the large proportion of fat, carbohydrates, and protein. Cacao is classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
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, class Magnoliopsida, order Malvales, family Sterculiaceae.

Cacao

 

(1) a plant of the genus Theobroma of the family Sterculiaceae and (2) the food product obtained from the seeds of that plant [in English, the term “cocoa” is more commonly used for the food product].

The seeds of cacao beans have a bitter astringent taste, which is caused by the presence of tanins and theobromine, and do not have the aroma and taste characteristic of chocolate products. The color of the beans ranges from violet to gray and white. In order to improve their flavor, freshly picked beans separated from the pulp are fermented for two to seven days. As a result of complex biochemical processes, the beans turn various shades of brown and acquire a pleasant aroma and taste. Next the beans are dried in the sun on plantations or are dried by heated air.

Cacao is a valuable food raw material. The average composition of the kernel (evaluation of the dry substance) is water, 4—6 percent; fat, cocoa butter, 51-54 percent; starch, 7-10 percent; glucose, fructose, 1-2 percent; protein, 10-12 percent; theobromine, caffeine, 1-1.5 percent; tannins, 4-7 percent; acids, 1-2 percent; and mineral substances, 2-3 percent.

After the beans are cleaned, sorted, and thermally treated, they are broken into nibs and finely ground to make ground cacao, which in turn is used to make cocoa butter and chocolate. Cocoa butter is made by pressing the ground cacao. The remaining cake is coarsely broken and pulverized to make cocoa powder, which is used to prepare the beverage cocoa.

cacao

[kə′kau̇]
(botany)
Theobroma cacao. A small tropical tree of the order Theales that bears capsular fruits which are a source of cocoa powder and chocolate. Also known as chocolate tree.

cacao

1. a small tropical American evergreen tree, Theobroma cacao, having yellowish flowers and reddish-brown seed pods from which cocoa and chocolate are prepared: family Sterculiaceae
2. cacao bean another name for cocoa bean
References in periodicals archive ?
The above illustration's central focus is a cacao tree represented as an axis rnundi, symbolizing the natural world's connection with the supernatural lower earth and the above heavens.
Chocolate comprises a number of raw and processed foods produced from the seed of the tropical cacao tree.
In an attempt to grow more plants more quickly, cocoa farmers have started growing cacao trees in full sunlight and cutting down rainforests to do so.
A cacao tree can produce up to 70 pods a year, each of which must be cut down and chopped open.
Usually, cacao trees are found along rivers, but these gems were found at a higher altitude than normal, and in Peru instead of Ecuador or Venezuela.
Agricultural Research Service researchers at the Sustainable Perennial Crops Laboratory (SPCL) and the Systematic Mycology and Microbiology Laboratory (SMML) in Beltsville, Maryland, and Peruvian collaborators came away with hundreds of new cacao tree samples from these trips.
These people mixed the ground seeds of a cacao tree with spices to make a spicy, frothy drink.
They assigned 88 percent or 23,529 of these protein-coding genes to one of the 10 chromosomes in the Criollo cacao tree.
However, cocoa crops have always been plagued by serious global losses from pests and diseases, and to date, there has been very little investment in scientific research to improve the cacao tree.
Pakistan, May 08 -- The cacao tree - Theobroma cacao - has been cultivated in Mexico, Central and South America for three millennia.
Stop by the greenhouse to see tropical fruits and foods such as a cacao tree, lychee, pomelo, cassava, sugar cane, rice and even an ice cream bean
combines the flavor of dark chocolate with roasted seeds of the cacao tree to create Chocolate Seeds.