Cacoa beans are harvested from the thick, leathery pods that grow on the Amazonian cacoa tree. They are the main ingredient for producing chocolate and cocoa powder and have been cultivated for thousands of years across Mexico, Central and South America. Cacoa beans have a number of unique properties that make them an excellent health food when eaten raw. They contain high levels of important minerals, such as sulphur and magnesium, and consist of virtually no sugar. Although you can eat cacoa beans as they are, it is common to remove the tough outer shell.
Things You'll Need
Small paring knife
Place the cacoa beans in a large bowl and fill with water until all the beans are fully submerged.
Leave the beans to soak in the water for half an hour to allow the outer shells to soften.
Peel the cacoa nuts using the tips of your fingers to tear away the outer shell. If you prefer, use a small paring knife instead of your fingertips. This can be useful if the shells are still quite hard.
Once peeled you can eat your cacoa beans raw or use them as an ingredient in your cooking. Cacoa beans can easily be ground in a coffee grinder to create a rich, aromatic powder that can be added to desserts and drinks.