Farm-to-School March 2019: Cacao
This month in Farm-to-School, students discovered the magic of Cacao (pronounced “kah-kow”), the plant behind everyone’s favorite treat..chocolate! Theobroma Cacao is considered to be a sacred tree in the Dominican Republic, where my mother is from and where I got the Cacao beans for this Hot Chocolate recipe. While using “raw cacao” is more bitter than the more familiar “cocoa powder”, there are many vitamins and minerals that get lost when Cacao is heated and refined into cocoa. Cacao is full of magnesium, has 40 times the antioxidants of blueberries, and is one of the highest plant-based sources of Iron. What is also lost through processing is the theobroma which is the energizing chemical component of Cacao that is responsible for the happy, loving feelings this plant brings out. Raw Cacao increases blood flow to the heart and happy hormones, like serotonin and endorphins, to the brain, offering a sense of euphoria and connectedness. This is why we eat chocolate on Valentine’s Day, it opens our hearts.
Have your children teach you the Chocolate song,
And may your heart guide your way on your journey with Cacao!
Today’s Recipe: Hot Chocolate with Cacao & Maple Syrup
- 2 Tablespoons of Grated Raw Cacao
- 2 Cups of Hot Water or Milk
- 2 Tablespoons of of Maple Syrup
- 1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
- Heat 2 cups of water or milk in a medium sauce pan.
- Measure and pour grated Cacao, Vanilla and Maple Syrup into the hot liquid and stir or froth.
- In 5-10 minutes when the Cacao granules have melted, serve
You can find Raw Cacao Powder in the Health Section of the grocery store.