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Cocoa Replacement  RSS feed

 
gardener
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Cocoa is not local, but when mixed with sugar and oil it's soooooo delicious!!! What can I grow easily to replace it? I'm thinking dandelion root roasted and ground might be ok? Any thoughts? Cocoa powder its self is so bitter and unpalatable it is kind of hard to think of anything that can match it. Thanks!
 
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I have heard of Chocolate Mint plant, would it work as a replacement?

Carob is a substitiute for chocolate and cocoa.  I tried it years ago.  I don't think its local:

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Carob-Powder-2-5-Lb-Tub/890115478


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceratonia_siliqua
 
pollinator
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Carob trees may be grown in USDA zones 9-11
 
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Dried fruits can be very satisfying and are healthier that cacao... dates, raisins, also dried pear I tried once (expensive but absolutely delicious), dried apricots, you name it... and, less addictive than cacao, cacao is a stimulant. Many times child labour is used in Africa, even sometimes when organic.
Go for fruits! All in one, no need to mix with sugar.
 
Amit Enventres
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Chocolate mint tastes like the inside of one of those mint patties.

Carob isn't local, unfortunately.

Naturally dried fruit does have a sort of chocolatey taste,  but I don't think I can convince my daughter and her normal friends that they are eating a real treat.  I know blended with nut flower they can make a decent fudge or brownie, with cocoa powder that is,  but not a good hot chocolate.  Chai tea latte is close to preferred as a hot chocolate, but at least half those ingredients aren't local either.

Yes, one of the herbal properties of cacao, just like coffee,  is stimulant, and some days that is exactly what I need, just like some people really like a chamomile tea before bed or a lemon tea for nausea. Unfortunately,  I don't know any locally grown plants that produce caffeine or an equivalent, but as that's just a fraction of our cocoa use, so I'm not too worried. 

It's the chocolate mousse, chocolate bread, chocolate cake, etc. that I'd like to redirect. And, before you wonder why the heck is a permie making all this wonderful yumminess, I'll answer for it- why the heck not if it's healthy and sustainable? Pasture-raised, hand made chocolate mousse from regionally local cows requires barely any sweetener to balance the cocoa. Cake is made with eggs (can be local) squash (again,  local) Some flour, oil, salt, sugar, cocoa to taste, maybe milk. Definitely baking soda and/or baking powder too, for fluffiness.  Squash puree with some oils, cocoa and sugar makes a wonderful frosting. So does chocolate mousse. I live in the grain belt (though unfortunately I haven't successfully found a local source) and grow some on site. I also use a fair amount of wheat flour in those treats. No one notices it's full of fiber and good stuff.

That's how I roll. Then point out how this be all good for you and more sustainable than you'd think and I'm like "yeah, sustainable can taste like that!" And, we try to have guest every week, because as far as I know, that builds mental stability and community. Which is one reason I have a hard time growing our demand currently on 0.1 acres growing space.

Back in topic. The raw flavor of cocoa powder and roasted ground dandelion root seems pretty similar so I am going to have to try it in some dishes and report back my findings.  Unfortunately, I'm low on it because this house had such a low dandelion population when we moved in with small roots. I blame dandelion phobia in lawns.  I have been seeding them and growing them out.
 
Amit Enventres
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Dandelion root is too bitter.
 
pollinator
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Carob is like chocolate,in the same way that dirt is like chocolate.
It's fine as it's own thing, but it ain't no substitute for chocolate.
 
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https://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/1930

Avens root shows promise.
 
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Geez, tastes a bit like chocolate could replace the old hackneyed "like chicken" standard.

I'm not the only to liken black garlic to chocolate. Not only am i a northern chocoholic, but so is my mom. So I come by it honestly. ...or do i? Anyway, black garlic gets my vote. I know sounds so unlikely, but the slow carmelization sweetens it as it softens the blow of its pungance. Plus the texture is almost more chocolatey than chocolate -- more yum-silky, anyways. 
 
Nick Dimitri
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Another source I remember hearing about on utube. Another unlikely source, raw vegetable juice. Somehow, they say, combinations of mainly carrots and romaine lettuce comes out tasting like chocolate milk. Some add fennel, but likely too much would bend the taste to licoricey. May just compliment -- who knows till we all try. Spring FWD,  OgreNick
 
pollinator
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This is blasphemy, there is NO SUBSTITUTE for CHOCOLATE!!!

OK, calm down, Joshua.  I'll try it if someone makes it, but for now I am keeping this vice.

Can chocolate be grown in regions where you can grow, say, lemons...??
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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Which makes me realize, I'll actually accept lemon squares as a "substitute" for chocolate...but it's not because it's pretending to be chocolate.
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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from Australian gov site:

The ideal range of temperatures for cocoa is minimums of 18-21°C and maximums of 30-32°C. Commercial cocoa production is limited to where the average minimum in the coldest months is greater than about 13°C. If the absolute minimum temperature falls below 10°C for several consecutive nights, the yield is likely to be reduced. Defoliation and dieback occurs between 4-8°C.

So, ideal : 64-67 F
minimum: 55F
absolute minimum 39-44

I'm think that could be grown in a TEFA situation...certainly in a hoop house...?
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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Phew, I'm safe:

https://www.fast-growing-trees.com/Chocolate-Cocoa-Plant.htm

Growing Zones: 5-11 patio / 10-11 outdoors

 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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It can even be grown in a corner of Montana!!!  what's the holdup, Paul?? 
We want our chocolate! We want our chocolate!
(I am sure I speak for all of us)
 
Nick Dimitri
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Maybe it's the addiction to shopping that answers why we'd love such bitter beans.

Coffee maybe, but cacao has effects on the heart. It fills what lacks in our western "civilized" ways of relating. So still an addiction.
 
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Half of the cacao bean is oil. Also known as cacao butter. It has a unique melting point of human body temperature. This is why chocolate is so smooth. So to figure out a replacement for cacao you'd want to have some type of oily crop with a similar melting point.
 
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I don't think anything can really replace chocolate / cacao. But maybe it's possible to use acorns? They were used in the past to replace coffee.
 
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Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:Phew, I'm safe:

https://www.fast-growing-trees.com/Chocolate-Cocoa-Plant.htm

Growing Zones: 5-11 patio / 10-11 outdoors



I have a potted coffee tree I started from a seed. It's about 4-5 years old now and has it's first fruit on it. 
I'm wondering how well a cacao plant would do in pot.
 
Amit Enventres
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Not sure if one tree would brew enough. The processing is also extensive.  https://www.icco.org/about-cocoa/processing-cocoa.html

Coconut oil melts at about 70°F but that's not local.  
 
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Amit Enventres wrote:Cocoa is not local, but when mixed with sugar and oil it's soooooo delicious!!! What can I grow easily to replace it? I'm thinking dandelion root roasted and ground might be ok? Any thoughts? Cocoa powder its self is so bitter and unpalatable it is kind of hard to think of anything that can match it. Thanks!



Nothing is really just like chocolate, but what about licorice root as a sweet replacement?
 
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Cris Fellows wrote:https://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/1930

Avens root shows promise.



Fascinating! I found that water avens/ "Chocolate Indain Root" is the one considered to have a root that can make a chocolately beverage. (http://www.naturalmedicinalherbs.net/herbs/g/geum-rivale=water-avens.php)

The dried or fresh root can be boiled in water to make a delicious chocolate-like drink. It can also be used as a seasoning. It is best harvested in the spring or autumn but can be used all year round. Fragrant, it was once used to flavour ales.



I have a lot of large leaf avens on my property. I wonder if it's root is also edible and tastes like chocolate?

I found on this website (http://www.wnps.org/landscaping/herbarium/pages/geum-macrophyllum.html) that

Medicinal Uses: The Nuxalk made tea with the roots for stomach pain. The leaves were poulticed on boils by the Nuxalk, Quileute, Snohomish and Quinault. The Quileute and the Klallam chewed the leaves during labor, because these plants appeared at the same time that seals gave birth to their pups. The S. Vancouver Island Salish ate the leaves before visiting a dying person to guard against germs. Chehalis women made tea from the leaves to avoid conception, this only worked after the woman had given birth. Cowichan men chewed the leaves and fed them to their wives when they were pregnant to "straighten the womb" and aid delivery. The Squamish used the leaves to make a diuretic tea. An eyewash was also prepared from the leaves. The Haida boiled the roots to make a steambath to treat rheumatism.
Food Uses: Roots were used for flavoring stews and fish.



Looks like the roots were used for flavoring--but what type of flavor?
 
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Is chocolate a large part of your diet? Is the rest of your diet fully local? I would recommend focusing on sourcing high quality cacao from thoughtful producers and practice honoring it as a special gift. Even before locomotion humans traded food stuffs (especially spices) across vast areas. I feel like it's a great idea to focus on keeping the bulk of your diet local but I don't think we need to limit ourselves to some arbitrary radius for everything. Of course that is probably because I'm a coffee addict working to justify that behavior.
 
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Amit Enventres wrote:Dandelion root is too bitter.



I was going to say the opposite. I roast dandelion root for "coffee" and is not nearly as strong or bitter as cocoa.
 
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I planted my linden trees specifically because I read you can make a chocolate substitute from the flowers and seeds, though it doesn't keep at all. 

This link is as close as I can get to a real recipe:  https://bushcraftusa.com/forum/threads/basswood-tree-chocolate-substitute.201731/

Backwoods Home has a vague assurance that it can be done:  http://www.backwoodshome.com/the-chocolate-tree-isnt-just-for-kids/ - late flowers and early fruits for chocolate paste, mature seeds for cocoa drink.

This person tried and had no success, possibly because she was using American linden:  https://practicalselfreliance.com/wild-foraged-linden-chocolate/

PFAF warns that the flowers may have a slight narcotic effect if "too old" - picked too old?  stored too long?  Sigh.
 
Amit Enventres
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I look forward to your results!
 
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Yeah, I second the notion that arbitrary locality is needless.

There is also the issue of the effort and resources expended to give this southern plant life support. How is that any more permaculturally sound than sourcing your cocoa powder from a socially and ecologically responsible provider?

And the thread title is an oxymoron. There is no replacement for cocoa.

-CK
 
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I just stumbled upon this entry on Gastro Obscura, Berlandiera lyrata daisies that grow in the Southewest US and Mexico.  They smell like chocolate and supposedly the stamens are edible and taste like cocoa.  Might be worth investigating for someone who can grow it.
 
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That plant recently featured on a local gardening program.  Not that it was edible, but as a long blooming and fragrant native flower.  There's a pretty good track record of local nurseries trying to supply what they've recommended,  so I suspect these will soon be easier to find.  Common name is actually chocolate daisy.
 
Casie Becker
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That plant recently featured on a local gardening program.  Not that it was edible, but as a long blooming and fragrant native flower.  There's a pretty good track record of local nurseries trying to supply what they've recommended,  so I suspect these will soon be easier to find.  Common name is actually chocolate daisy.
 
Amit Enventres
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Nathanael Szobody wrote:

Amit Enventres wrote:Dandelion root is too bitter.



I was going to say the opposite. I roast dandelion root for "coffee" and is not nearly as strong or bitter as cocoa.



Really?? Maybe my dandelions and your dandelions need to have a date and make some slightly bitter dandelion that can be used as cocoa.

I'm going to make a mass fall harvest of dandelion root this year if all goes well. I might try a few methods of processing to see if I can get rid of that latex aftertaste.

If anyone has any thoughts as to how to get rid of that, please share. Thanks!
 
Amit Enventres
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As for the quantity, we go through about 1 box of cocoa powder every two weeks, so yes- that's significant. Not that I don't have a million other things I get from across the seas, but if this can be one less, then great.  :D
 
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