Raw cacao beans are a splendid product that often gets overlooked.
Whether it’s due to the fact that many people are still quite unfamiliar with it or because it might not be available in every corner store.
It is still worth learning what you can do with them.
This way, the next time you run across some cacao beans in a shop, you’ll know how to incorporate them into your daily routine.
There’s no reason you should wait any longer to start enjoying the benefits of raw cacao beans, which range from the high content of vitamins and minerals like potassium and B vitamins to superpowers that can help combat heart disease and cancer.
To start eating them, you can, for instance, learn how to roast cacao beans to make homemade chocolate or cocoa nibs.
The latter is packed with antioxidants and can be blended into delicious smoothies, sprinkled on top of your favorite sweet or even savory dishes, or enjoyed as a snack with nuts and dried fruits.
In this article, you’ll find more information about five things you can do with raw cacao beans.
Read on and start enjoying this special treat that also brings health benefits.
What are the Benefits of Raw Cacao Beans?
Raw cacao beans are one of the best sources of magnesium, which has been linked to improved sleep and lower blood pressure.
Magnesium also supports cardiovascular health, helps regulate blood sugar levels, improves insulin sensitivity, and combats anxiety and depression.
The B vitamins in cacao beans help the body convert food into energy through the process of metabolism, create new blood cells, and maintain healthy skin cells, brain cells, and other body tissues.
Lastly, cacao beans have high potassium levels, which regulates blood pressure and keeps your nerves and muscles working properly.
Additionally, cocoa and chocolate products may have beneficial health effects against oxidative stress and chronic inflammation, which are considered to be risk factors for cancer and other chronic diseases.
In addition to these health benefits, cacao beans are also incredibly tasty and can be used in various dishes, including healthy, keto, and gluten-free recipes, which are often popular among fitness enthusiasts.
Here’s how you can incorporate them into your routine.
Blend Them into a Smoothie
Raw cacao nibs, which are essentially roasted and crushed cacao beans, can be blended into a rich, creamy smoothie that will give you a much-needed boost of energy.
You can even add other healthy ingredients to the mix like fruits, vegetables, and greens.
One example is a green smoothie with cacao nibs, bananas, avocado, vanilla almond milk, cucumber, and coconut water.
If you want some extra crunch, you can add a few cacao nibs on top, and you’ll be good to go. If you enjoy working out, this can be the perfect pre-workout snack.
Make Your Own Chocolate
Take things a step further and make your own homemade chocolate! All you need to do is roast the raw cacao beans into the nibs.
Then, grind 4 ounces of the nibs followed by 4 ounces of dry sugar crystals, and add the scraping of one vanilla bean. Blend these ingredients together in a food processor and melt half an ounce of cacao butter.
Add it to the blender, and soon you should see your chocolate becoming liquid inside. You will also need to temper the chocolate before transferring it into molds.
Once you’re finished, fill up your molds with tempered chocolate. You can make it more fun by sprinkling some cacao nibs or freeze-dried fruits such as raspberries on top.
Another great option is to sprinkle some flaky sea salt for a more savory flavor or add candied orange peel to give your chocolates that luxurious taste.
Make Cacao Nib Brownies
Speaking of chocolate cravings, you can also consider adding some delicious cacao nibs into your staple brownies.
All you need are a few ingredients you probably already have at home. Here’s a quick and easy recipe you can follow:
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 2 cups dark chocolate, chopped
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1¼ cup all-purpose flour
- kosher salt
- ½ cup plus cocoa nibs
To make the brownies, preheat your oven to 350°F. Butter a pan of your choice and line it with parchment for easy clean-up.
On your stove, set up a water bath. Add your butter and the chocolate to the pot, and wait for it to melt.
Once everything is nice and smooth, add the sugar. Whisk it in vigorously, then add eggs and vanilla and whisk again until well combined.
Use a spatula to gently fold in the flour and a pinch of kosher salt. Stir in some chopped chocolate or chocolate chips.
Pour the batter into your pan, smooth it out and sprinkle cocoa nibs on top. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Serve at room temperature.
Mix Them with Nuts
Roasted raw cacao beans can also be mixed with nuts to make your own homemade trail mix that’s much healthier than the premade store-bought alternative.
This is a great way to boost your energy levels between meals or whenever you need an extra pick-me-up.
As far as nuts go, almonds are a great choice as they’re high in calcium, magnesium, and vitamin E. Other good choices include cashews, pecans, and Brazil nuts.
You can also add some raisins, dried cranberries, or banana chips to introduce some sweetness to your mix. Store it in an airtight container and enjoy!
Make Your Own Tea
Cacao beans, once roasted, can be used to make an excellent herbal tea that combines the health benefits of your favorite herbs with those of cacao beans.
To prepare your own tea, start by putting your raw cacao beans into a heated pan with no oil and stir until the shells look toasted and don’t pop anymore.
Save the toasted shells, as they’re the main ingredient for your tea. Put them into a mug, pour some hot water, and steep for two minutes.
If you want to add some herbs to the mix, consider combining cacao shells with lavender or chamomile tea.
You can experiment with different herbal teas until you find a perfect mix or drink the cacao shell tea on its own.
As you can see, you can’t go wrong with cacao beans. They’re delicious and nutritious, with a ton of health benefits to boot!
With the tips and recipes included in this article, you’ll be able to prepare tasty snacks and desserts or even brew cacao tea.
Using cacao beans and nibs in your recipes is an excellent way to satisfy your sweet tooth in a healthy and guilt-free way.
Don’t wait up – head to your local supermarket, visit a farmer’s market, or go online and stock up on this marvelous product, so you can eat it regularly and nourish your body with it.