Delicious Cacao

virgilevetts(Auckland, NZ)May 4, 2005

I have just planted 6 seeds that I removed from a cocoa pod

yesterday. I planted them with the thin white membrane still attached- is this correct? I sucked off most of the pulp because it turns out [much to my surprise] that its delicious! Tastes a lot like mangosteen, with a similar texture too. Why dont you ever hear about that? I planted the seeds about 1/2 inch deep in pure compost. They are in my green house, which probably drops to about 15c at night and 23-26 during the day at the moment. A mango seedling has just popped up in the same conditions quite happily.

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Heathen1(10a)

I never had a problem with germination... if the seeds are fresh enough and they get puhLENTY of water, they should be fine... the next step is keeping them warm... they don't like it below 15c and they really only like filtered or dappled sunlight... so, you should do fine! I am jealous that you can afford to keep your greenhouse that warm! :o)

    Bookmark   May 5, 2005 at 11:50AM
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virgilevetts(Auckland, NZ)

Sorry- its not heated, just isnt very cold here yet- the avergae winter temp here is about 17c daytime and 7-10c nite.

Probably not that cold in the greenhouse as no wind-chill [which is nothing to speak of in Auckland anyway].

I might bring the plants into the house for the winter though [providing they germinate]

    Bookmark   May 5, 2005 at 7:59PM
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braspadya(z7a MD)

I am guessing that the temperatures that you mention are perhaps a bit low for cacao to grow happily. It is really a lowland tropical plant. I lived in eastern Sierra Leone where lots of the farmers grew cacao as a cash crop. It was often an understory bush/tree in secondary tropical forests.

This site lists weather for Freetown currently: http://www.meteoconsult.fr/ter/monde/prevision/moteur.php?langue=an&num_ville=7409&echeance=0

It is showing a daytime high of 29 C and an overnight low of 25 C.

A second site about Kenema (close to where I lived) says this: "Average temperature ranges from 21 degrees Celsius (73 degrees Fahrenheit) to 31 degrees Celsius (88 degrees Fahrenheit) all year."

http://kenema.hollosite.com/index1.html

Hope that this helps,

Dan

    Bookmark   May 14, 2005 at 10:23PM
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ARAD(10USDA/25SUNSET)

Hi Virgil,
The climate of Auckland is way too cool for Cacao. It needs a "decently" hot and humid climate, at least like Brisbane's to grow while your area is more close to Melbourne in terms of average temperature. Keep the plants in a heated greenhouse or inside your home and get them outside in the summer (which is again very cool compare to what cacao needs to thrive).

    Bookmark   May 15, 2005 at 5:06PM
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gcmastiffs(z10 Florida)

They are awfully delicate, even in hot and humid S. Florida. The leaves are damaged by wind, cool weather and too much sun. Mine is in a container, under a huge Grapefruit tree, so it is in dappled shade. It likes daily watering. The adult trees I saw at a local nursery were not pretty, they were all brown from our mild winter. But they survived. New growth is a weird shade of pink.

Lisa

Here is a link that might be useful: My young Cacao tree

    Bookmark   May 15, 2005 at 5:17PM
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virgilevetts(Auckland, NZ)

Thanks all for the input. Im not worried about our summers as they are very warm and perhaps more importantly extremly humid. I figure they will make ok indoor pot plants over winter. In my part of Auckland frosts dont occur and it dosnt snow within a 6 hour hour drive from here
[and even then only in the mountains].

I think our sun is likely to be the biggest problem, NZ sun is very intence and burns even quite tough plants.

Wait and see I guess. Has anyone had experience growing them indoor permenantly?

    Bookmark   May 15, 2005 at 6:32PM
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whuebel

Does anyone think that Laos would have an appropriate climate? I'm looking for a cash crop for my relatives there.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2007 at 9:47PM
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ARAD(10USDA/25SUNSET)

Where in Laos? What's the closest big city to your relatives's area?

    Bookmark   June 9, 2007 at 4:47PM
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costaricafinca

I planted six cacao trees last year, so don't expect anyfruit for awhile.
Has anyone ever ''did' anything with the dried 'cacao'? Last week at our local market they were selling some, but I can't find 'easy steps' to go to the next stage.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2007 at 11:47AM
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costaricafinca

I have just got some new seed that I will plant, PDQ. My question is "how long does it usually/approx. take to produce pods/beans from a seed"?

    Bookmark   July 7, 2007 at 11:57AM
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orchidguyftl(z11 FTL FL)

plants can start producing as early as 2 - 3 years old
the plants do like shady sonditions and lots of heat, humidity, and water
when they get mature enough to flower and produce, they produce year round, though they have 2 crops that are bigger then the rest of the year
the pulp is fantastic, sweet and delicious, the dried seeds can be ground and used as nuts are inrecipies and eaten plain
my fave though is to grind them like coffee with some cinnamon and nutmeg and make a fantastic drink from them

    Bookmark   July 7, 2007 at 12:27PM
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costaricafinca

Orchidguyftl,thanks for your help. You don't roast the seeds? Just dry and them grind them". We are also growing cinnamom and nutmeg.
Yesterday, I 'sucked off the pulp' and will plant the seeds next week. Commercially, cacao is unusually grown on the Caribbean side of Cost Rica where it is more humid. We planted some trees last year, in the shade under some large trees, but it might not be humid enough there. I might set up a sprinkler system nearby.
Many years ago it was a popular commodity here, but a disease took out most of the plantations.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2007 at 9:09AM
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orchidguyftl(z11 FTL FL)

yes
seeds need to be dried/fermented, then roasted
mine was not doing so well until i moved it right next to my pond where the humidity is really high
mine should start producing hopefully next year
I've been looking for cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice

    Bookmark   July 8, 2007 at 11:57AM
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costaricafinca

We have some allspice as well, but it will be a while, I should think, until we get fruit. They are not easy to come by here, either.
I thought maybe you can come up with a new way to use the cacao seed...by just drying it!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2007 at 6:25PM
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aroideana(Tropical Australia)

This has been trialled as a new crop for sugarcane farmers here in north qld [lousy prices for sugar]
Very high yeilds here but labour will be to expensive for harvesting . Photos showed trees way over the head of a farmer and only 7 years old !

    Bookmark   July 12, 2007 at 7:32AM
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aroideana(Tropical Australia)

Yields were three times higher than supposed 'normal' harvests and high hopes for some special niche market products . Mossman sugar mill hopes to produce a low 'GI' sugar and then make chocolate as well .

    Bookmark   July 15, 2007 at 7:57PM
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Kalie(9 - Jacksonville, Florida)

You definitely roast the seeds before grinding them. After they are picked from the fruit, they need to be fermented for 2-10 days and then once dry can be roasted over fire or in the oven. After they have been roasted you can put them in a food processor and let it go until the consistency is like peanut butter. This is also the point where you can add cane sugar (that has been processed to a powder consistency) or powered milk if you want to "cut" the chocolate with anything. After that you just pour into a mold and freeze for an hour or so and you will have some of the best chocolate ever! :)

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 2:38PM
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