What is Raw Chocolate?

What is raw chocolate?  It's chocolate that has not been heated past the temperature of 118 degrees F.

Unfortunately, most chocolate bars that say they're raw are probably not!

To make great tasting chocolates from raw cacao beans without subjecting the beans to 118 degrees F. is very difficult.

Steps in the chocolate making process which form the flavor we associate with great tasting chocolates involve heat. 

The first step involves the fermentation of the cacao beans that can easily reach 122 degrees F. or more.

Usually after cocoa beans are fermented, they are dried in the sun or in a mechanical machine and then they are dry roasted which exposes the beans to high temperatures.

Roasting cacao beans to develop flavor can typically ranges from 230 to 300 degrees F. because it's thought that roasting beans at 118 degrees F. or below will not develop the right flavor.

Most "raw" cacao beans or products are labeled as being raw because they were not roasted, but may have been exposed to temperatures above 118 degrees F.

Just be aware that cacao beans, cacao nibs, and chocolate bars that are packaged as being "raw" that you find at grocery or health food stores may not technically be raw because they have undergone fermentation and drying.

What is Raw Chocolate in Reality?

As far as I can tell, truly raw chocolate would be raw cacao beans that come straight from a fresh opened cacao pod. 

You may be wondering - Is it safe to eat raw cacao beans?

Yes, apparently you can eat raw cacao beans straight from the pod which may come with many beneficial nutrients.

People will also consume the white pulp that surrounds the raw cacao beans.

I've heard that the white pulp tastes like a mixture between a sweet melon and a peach. 

And someone mentioned a fruity taste similar to passionfruit.

However, the raw cacao beans will most likely taste like a dark chocolate which is quite bitter, but still edible.

You can also remove the sweet white pulp and shell the raw cacao beans before consuming the raw cacao nibs.

How to Open a Cacao Pod
and Raw Cacao Bean/Seeds

The easiest way to open a ripe cacao pod is to cut it open with a sharp knife.  Some people also like to hit the cacao pod with a rock or a hard object to crack it open.

You would then pry open the pod with your hands to reveal the cacao seeds or beans inside - wrapped in its sweet white pulp.

Cacao beans are actually the seed of the cacao fruit which is the sweet white pulp that surrounds the seeds which everyone usually calls the cacao beans. 

When the beans or seeds are raw, they are relatively soft and people will sometimes consume the whole bean.

And you can suck off the sweet white pulp or fruit of the cacao before consuming the raw cacao bean.

Apparently, what is raw chocolate can be the whole cacao bean - shell and all!

However, I believe you should peel the shell before consuming raw cacao beans to lower the anti-nutrients that are usually found in all shells.

You can also soak the raw bean in water for about 1/2 an hour or so to help loosen the skin, so it's easier to peel and blend.

What is Raw Chocolate Health Benefits?

Raw cacao beans will contain a much higher number of antioxidants when compared to processed dark chocolates.

Raw cacao beans will be much higher in flavonols than any processed chocolate bars or products - a couple thousand times more!

This is because antioxidants are degraded when the cacao beans are exposed to high temperatures.  And antioxidants in their "raw" state are much more stable and much easier to metabolize.

What is Raw Chocolate Aajonus Style?

I found an article that Aajonus Vonderplanitz wrote when he was alive about the consumption of raw cocoa beans.

In the article, he states that raw cocoa aka cacao contains flavonoids (antioxidants), strengthens blood pressure, heart and vascular system improving circulation, glucose metabolism and eye sight.

He said, "Most people on a raw diet could consume safely about 2 tablespoons of pure cocoa beans weekly blenderized with raw egg, 6 tablespoons of raw fat and some unheated honey without any harm. Eating it only occasionally, they might benefit with increased energy, mental activity and creativity as well as the physical benefits mentioned earlier".

His article gives you a couple raw chocolate recipes like a Raw Aajonus Bitter Chocolate Recipe.

However, he did mention that cocoa beans eaten excessively may cause problems like demineralization and pain around your teeth. 

It appears when eaten in moderation and diluted in nutrient dense recipes - raw chocolate may not pose any problems.

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