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Cacao is how chocolate begins. I had a bunch of cacao this year and wanted to separate the white pulp from the seeds. The pulp is very hard to remove by hand. The sharp blender blades were chopping up the seeds. Instead of whirling knives, I needed something like whirling baseball bats.

The solution was simple, just putting a layer of hot melt glue over the blade unit. Fortunately I had an extra blade unit from an old blender. The machine got a real work out with those seeds, but it survived, and the seeds came through pretty much intact. Since I used good drinking water to do the job, the juice from the pulp was usable and delicious.

After much use, the tough hot melt glue shows no signs of deteriorating.

Step 1: The Steps in Processing

The cacao pods are pretty tough. I used a hammer and iron block anvil to break them open. Inside there is a collection of pulp covered seeds.

I put the seeds through the blender beater-upper about three or four times. The pulpy wash water was delicious later.

The cleaned seeds still have the papery skin layer that lies between the pulp and the chocolaty inner part of the seed. Once the seeds are dried, the skin sometimes comes off fairly easily by hand. The skin doesn't bother me much so I just eat it, too. I experimented with sun drying, but found my electric food dryer to work better. Once dry, the seeds preserve well.

The neighbors say that to make cocoa, one mashes the seeds up with a mortar and pestle and then boils the paste with milk. I'm lazy and just snack on the seeds as they are.

This little invention should be useful to anybody who wants to save seeds when juicing with the blender.

<p>Reminds me of a device I saw used in a school's kitchen to peel lots of whole potatoes. It was just a drum lined with very rough edges, the potatoes were put inside and the drum spun. A hose poured water in, and a drain allowed the water and peels to come out. It worked surprisingly well.</p>
<p>Hey! The pulp is important! The cocoa farmers let them dry on the seeds. They ferment and give the seeds the taste they have.</p>
<p>It's a matter of taste, I suppose. I tried the fermented seeds once and they tasted similar, if I recall correctly. They have to be dry for storage. Cleaning and drying is simpler. Of course, chocolate has got all that tasty and addictive milk fat and sugar, too. Taste aside, just snacking on the dried, or fermented seeds has got to be healthier. </p>
<p>Very clever hack! I love the idea of "whirling baseball bats." That made me chuckle!</p>

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Bio: I'm a refugee from Los Angeles, living in backwoods Puerto Rico for about 35 years now and loving it. I built my own home ... More »
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