Most of us already know that cacao fruit are used to create one of the world’s favorite guilty pleasures – chocolate. But have you heard of cacao juice? This delicious drink is made from the bean’s pulp and can be used to improve the sustainability of cacao farming.
Cacao juice is an emerging product that is appealing because of its naturally sweet taste. It’s numerous uses and health benefits may even place it on par with coconut water. We’ve tried cacao juice and it’s good. Very good. It’s similar to the mangosteen fruit, but more tart and even more fragrant.
Making Chocolate Production More Sustainable
The typical chocolate production process isn’t very sustainable when you consider the husk, pulp, and other components surrounding the cacao bean that are usually discarded as waste. Yet several farmers are finding valuable commercial uses for the remaining parts of the cacao fruit.
One of those uses includes cacao juice, a sweet drink made from cacao pulp. Growing demand for sustainable products has also led to other cacao pulp products, like cacao powder, which is often used in baking, smoothies, or even as a topping to yogurt or oatmeal.
Choosing the Right Cacao Pods
Quality cacao juice requires certain characteristics of its cacao pods. For instance, producers should only pick pods that are three-quarters ripe, which most often exhibit a yellowish-green color.
What stage of the growing process the pods are picked hugely affects the overall quality of the resulting cacao juice. For example, pods that are too ripe or underripe are usually too dry to produce high quality juice.
Uses and Health Benefits
The uses of pure cacao juice are endless and include concocting unique cocktails, adding it to morning smoothies, and reducing it to syrups. It’s exotic, naturally sweet flavor can quickly transform any drink or dessert.
Cacao juice also has a surprising amount of health benefits. It has more antioxidants than blueberries, has one of the highest plant-based percentages of magnesium, and contains several other valuable vitamins and minerals.
Drinking the juice is delicious, but be careful as it’s very high in sugar. As with most fruit juices, use sparingly, as sugar of any type can negatively impact your health.
And yes, there is already a cacao juice company. Check out Repurposed Pod.