National Chocolate Covered Cashews Day is observed each year on April 21st. The cashew is a tree from the family Anacardiaceae. Its English name comes from Portuguese the fruit of the cashew tree “caju.” Originally native to Northeastern Brazil, cashew trees are now widely grown in tropical climates for its cashew fruit and nuts.
Surprisingly, the shell of the cashew nut is toxic, which is why the cashew is shelled before it is sold to consumers. The cashew nut is a very popular snack with a delicious flavor. They are a well-known favorite during the holidays but can be enjoyed anytime throughout the year.
Many individuals have inquired as what is the differences in Dark Chocolate and Milk Chocolate
All Go Africa® products will always use Dark Chocolate and contain at least 70% cacao were applicable.
The Net – Net, is in the. U.S. Milk chocolate is the most popular type of chocolate in the United States. To be marketed as milk chocolate, a product must contain at least 10 percent chocolate liquor, at least 3.39 percent milkfat, and at least 12 percent milk solids.
Thus, if you are consuming Milk Chocolate, you are basically consuming mostly sugar.
Dark chocolate (also known as black chocolate or plain chocolate) is a form of chocolate which is made from cocoa butter instead of milk-based butter like milk chocolate, and contains a higher percentage of cocoa. Government and industry standards of what products may be labeled “dark chocolate” vary by country and market.
Dark chocolate contains antioxidants, such as polyphenols, and is relatively low in sugar. It has a reputation as a healthier alternative to other types of chocolate, such as milk chocolate. Dark chocolate has been identified as a potential “superfood”. This has helped lead to a global increase in demand for dark chocolate
Milk chocolate is solid chocolate made with milk, in the form of milk powder, liquid milk, or condensed milk, added. In 1875, Swiss confectioner Daniel Peter, in cooperation with his neighbour Henri Nestlé in Vevey, developed the first solid milk chocolate using condensed milk. The bar was named “Gala Peter”, combining the Greek word for “milk” and his name. A German company Jordan & Timaeus in Dresden, Saxony had already invented milk chocolate in 1839; hitherto it had only been available as a drink The US Government requires a 10% concentration of chocolate liquor. EU regulations specify a minimum of 25% cocoa solids. However, an agreement was reached in 2000 that allowed what by exception from these regulations is called “milk chocolate” in the UK, Ireland, and Malta, containing only 20% cocoa solids, to be traded as “family milk chocolate” elsewhere in the European Union.
Chocolate liquor (cocoa liquor) is pure cocoa mass in solid or semi-solid form. Like the cocoa beans (nibs) from which it is produced, it contains both cocoa solids and cocoa butter in roughly equal proportion.
It is produced from cocoa beans that have been fermented, dried, roasted, and separated from their skins. The beans are ground into cocoa mass (cocoa paste). The mass is melted to become the liquor, and the liquor is either separated into cocoa solids and cocoa butter, or cooled and molded into blocks of raw chocolate. Its main use (often with additional cocoa butter) is in making chocolate.
The name liquor is used not in the sense of a distilled, alcoholic substance, but rather the older meaning of the word, meaning ‘liquid’ or ‘fluid’.
To make 1 kg (2.2 lb) of chocolate, about 300 to 600 beans are processed, depending on the desired cocoa content. In a factory, the beans are roasted. Next, they are cracked and then deshelled by a “winnower”. The resulting pieces of beans are called nibs. They are sometimes sold in small packages at specialty stores and markets to be used in cooking, snacking, and chocolate dishes. Since nibs are directly from the cocoa tree, they contain high amounts of theobromine. Most nibs are ground, using various methods, into a thick, creamy paste, known as chocolate liquor or cocoa paste. This “liquor” is then further processed into chocolate by mixing in (more) cocoa butter and sugar (and sometimes vanilla and lecithin as an emulsifier), and then refined, conched and tempered. Alternatively, it can be separated into cocoa powder and cocoa butter using a hydraulic press or the Broma process. This process produces around 50% cocoa butter and 50% cocoa powder. cocoa powder has a fat content around 10–12%. Cocoa butter is used in chocolate bar manufacture, other confectionery, soaps, and cosmetics.
Treating with alkali produces Dutch-process cocoa powder, which is less acidic, darker, and more mellow in flavor than what is generally available in most of the world. Regular (nonalkalized) cocoa is acidic, so when cocoa is treated with an alkaline ingredient, generally potassium carbonate, the pH increases. This process can be done at various stages during manufacturing, including during nib treatment, liquor treatment, or press cake treatment.
Another process that helps develop the flavor is roasting, which can be done on the whole bean before shelling or on the nib after shelling. The time and temperature of the roast affect the result: A “low roast” produces a more acid, aromatic flavor, while a high roast gives a more intense, bitter flavor lacking complex flavor notes
The cocoa bean, also called cacao bean,[cocoa (/ˈkoʊ.koʊ/), and cacao (/kəˈkaʊ/), is the dried and fully fermented seed of Theobroma cacao, from which cocoa solids and, because of the seed’s fat, cocoa butter can be extracted. The beans are the basis of chocolate,
As of 2011, Cote d’Ivoire in is the largest producer of Cacao (Cocoa) in the World
Two African nations, Ivory Coast and Ghana, produce almost half of the world’s cocoa, with 1.448 and 0.835 million tonnes, respectively (31.6% and 18.22%, respectively)
A cocoa pod (fruit) has a rough, leathery rind about 2 to 3 cm (0.79 to 1.18 in) thick (this varies with the origin and variety of pod) filled with sweet, mucilaginous pulp (called baba de cacao in South America) with a lemonade-like taste enclosing 30 to 50 large seeds that are fairly soft and a pale lavender to dark brownish purple color.
During harvest, the pods are opened, the seeds are kept, and the empty pods are discarded. The seeds are placed where they can ferment. Due to heat buildup in the fermentation process, cacao beans lose most of the purplish hue and become mostly brown in color, with an adhered skin which includes the dried remains of the fruity pulp. This skin is released easily after roasting by winnowing. White seeds are found in some rare varieties, usually mixed with purples, and are considered of higher value.
Cocoa trees grow in hot, rainy tropical areas within 20° of latitude from the Equator. Cocoa harvest is not restricted to one period per year and a harvest typically occurs over several months. In fact, in many countries, cocoa can be harvested at any time of the year. Pesticides are often applied to the trees to combat capsid bugs, and fungicides to fight black pod disease.
Immature cocoa pods have a variety of colours, but most often are green, red, or purple, and as they mature, their colour tends towards yellow or orange, particularly in the creases Unlike most fruiting trees, the cacao pod grows directly from the trunk or large branch of a tree rather than from the end of a branch, similar to jackfruit. This makes harvesting by hand easier as most of the pods will not be up in the higher branches. The pods on a tree do not ripen together; harvesting needs to be done periodically through the year. Harvesting occurs between three and four times weekly during the harvest season.
The ripe and near-ripe pods, as judged by their colour, are harvested from the trunk and branches of the cocoa tree with a curved knife on a long pole. Care must be used when cutting the stem of the pod to avoid damaging the junction of the stem with the tree, as this is where future flowers and pods will emerg] One person can harvest an estimated 650 pods per day.
Harvesting & Processing.
Special note: the long-term goal is for Cacao Producing countries in Africa to fully roast process their products into bars, bricks & related by products in order to benefit fully from the economic value of their commodities.
The harvested pods are opened, typically with a machete, to expose the beans. The pulp and cocoa seeds are removed and the rind is discarded. The pulp and seeds are then piled in heaps, placed in bins, or laid out on grates for several days. During this time, the seeds and pulp undergo “sweating”, where the thick pulp liquefies as it ferments. The fermented pulp trickles away, leaving cocoa seeds behind to be collected. Sweating is important for the quality of the beans, which originally have a strong, bitter taste. If sweating is interrupted, the resulting cocoa may be ruined; if underdone, the cocoa seed maintains a flavor similar to raw potatoes and becomes susceptible to mildew. Some cocoa-producing countries distill alcoholic spirits using the liquefied pulp.
A typical pod contains 20 to 50 beans and about 400 dried beans are required to make one pound (880 per kilogram) of chocolate. Cocoa pods weigh an average of 400 g (14 oz) and each one yields 35 to 40 g (1.2 to 1.4 oz) dried beans; this yield is 40–44% of the total weight in the pod. One person can separate the beans from about 2000 pods per day.
The wet beans are then transported to a facility so they can be fermented and dried. They are fermented for four to seven days and must be mixed every two days. They are dried for five to 14 days, depending on the climate conditions. The fermented beans are dried by spreading them out over a large surface and constantly raking them. In large plantations, this is done on huge trays under the sun or by using artificial heat. Small plantations may dry their harvest on little trays or on cowhides. Finally, the beans are trodden and shuffled about (often using bare human feet) and sometimes, during this process, red clay mixed with water is sprinkled over the beans to obtain a finer color, polish, and protection against molds during shipment to factories in the United States, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and other countries. Drying in the sun is preferable to drying by artificial means, as no extraneous flavors such as smoke or oil are introduced which might otherwise taint the flavor.
The beans should be dry for shipment (usually by sea). Traditionally exported in jute bags, over the last decade, beans are increasingly shipped in “mega-bulk” parcels of several thousand tonnes at a time on ships, or in smaller lots around 25 tonnes in 20-ft containers. Shipping in bulk significantly reduces handling costs; shipment in bags, however, either in a ship’s hold or in containers, is still common.
Interesting details about the Cashew and its uses throughout the World.
We have received many questions about the cashew. Thus, we have complied some information to help better understand the Cashew:
The Cashew is comprised of the following:
The Cashew Tree
The Cashew Fruit or Cashew Apple
The cashew nut (resides inside of the Cashew Fruit)
Cashew Shell Oil
The cashew tree (Anacardium occidentale) is a tropical evergreen tree that produces the cashew seed and the cashew apple. It can grow as high as 14 m (46 ft), but the dwarf cashew, growing up to 6 m (20 ft), has proved more profitable, with earlier maturity and higher yields.
The species is originally native to northeastern Brazil Portuguese colonists in Brazil began exporting cashew nuts as early as the 1550s. Major production of cashews occurs in Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Vietnam, Nigeria, and India.
The cashew nut, often simply called a cashew, is widely consumed. It is eaten on its own, used in recipes, or processed into cashew cheese or cashew butter.
The shell of the cashew seed yields derivatives that can be used in many applications including lubricants, waterproofing, paints, and arms production, starting in World War II.
The cashew apple is a light reddish to yellow fruit, whose pulp can be processed into a sweet, astringent fruit drink or distilled into liquor.
The cashew apple, also called cashew fruit, is the fleshy part of the cashew fruit attached to the cashew nut. The top end of the cashew apple is attached to the stem that comes off the tree. The bottom end of the cashew apple attaches to the cashew nut, which is encased in a shell. In botanical terms, the cashew apple is an accessory fruit that grows on the cashew seed (which is the nut).
The cashew apple can be eaten fresh, cooked in curries, or fermented into vinegar, as well as an alcoholic drink. It is also used to make preserves, chutneys, and jams in some countries such as India and Brazil. In many countries, particularly in South America, the cashew apple is used to flavor drinks, both alcoholic and nonalcoholic.
Cashew nuts are more widely traded than cashew apples, because the apple, unlike the nut, is easily bruised and has very limited shelf life Cashew apple juice, however, may be used for manufacturing blended juices.
Culinary uses for cashew seeds in snacking and cooking are similar to those for all tree seeds called nuts.
Cashew nuts are commonly used in Indian cuisine, whole for garnishing sweets or curries, or ground into a paste that forms a base of sauces for curries (e.g., korma), or some sweets (e.g., kaju barfi). It is also used in powdered form in the preparation of several Indian sweets and desserts.
In Goan cuisine, both roasted and raw kernels are used whole for making curries and sweets. Cashew nuts are also used in Thai and Chinese cuisines, generally in whole form.
In the Philippines, cashew is a known product of Antipolo, and is eaten with suman. Pampanga also has a sweet dessert called turrones de casuy, which is cashew marzipan wrapped in white wafers. In Indonesia, roasted and salted cashew nut is called kacang mete or kacang mede, while the cashew apple is called jambu monyet (translates in English to monkey rose apple).
In Mozambique, bolo polana is a cake prepared using powdered cashews and mashed potatoes as the main ingredients. This dessert is popular in South Africa.
Below are some interesting details regarding the current production of Cashews throughout the world
Production of Cashews
As of 2017, Cote d’Ivoire is the largest producer of Cashews in the World
In 2015, global production of cashew nuts (as the kernel) was 738,861 tonnes, led by India and Côte d’Ivoire each with 23% of the world total (table). Vietnam and Brazil also had significant production of cashew kernels.
In 2014, rapid growth of cashew cultivation in Côte d’Ivoire made this country the top African exporter. Fluctuations in world market prices, poor working conditions, and low pay for local harvesting have caused discontent in the cashew nut industry
Mr Edgar Maokola-Majogo, acting President African Cashew Alliance (ACA), on Tuesday said Africa was the largest producer of raw cashew nuts in the world with an estimated annual output of 1.2 million metric tons as of March 23, 2016
Production Regions in Africa
Cashew trees are widely cultivated for their nuts and derived products in West, East and South Africa. The West Africa region is producing at almost the same level as South Asian countries, while East Africa is currently facing a decline in the production of cashews.
Major cashew nut producing countries in Africa are Nigeria, Ghana, Gambia, Mali, Côte d’Ivoire, and Benin. Less than 10% of the raw cashew produced in the region is processed locally.
Most of the Cashews in Africa are processed locally thus, depriving the local economies of the value add of their products.
The local processing industry consists of industrial processors, mainly targeting the bulk export market and semi-industrial facilities that sell mainly in local markets and cottage processors. The informal groups process irregularly without investments in equipment and buildings and sell locally. The processing capacity of the industrial processors is said to be more than 1,000 million metric tons of raw nuts/year.
Africa produces around 40% of the estimated 2.6 million metric tons of raw cashew product worldwide every year.
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