Is chocolate a fruit?

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “Is chocolate a fruit?” and provide information on why chocolate is not a fruit, what is cocoa, some parts of a cocoa tree as well as varieties of cocoa.

Is chocolate a fruit?

No, chocolate is not a fruit. Cocoa trees are fruit-producing plants. The pods coming out of the fruit-producing plants are considered fruit. As a result, chocolate is produced from these pods or fruit but chocolate in itself cannot be called a fruit.

Why is chocolate not a fruit?

Fruit is a structure that bears the seeds of a plant. It also acts as a reproductive organ by allowing pollination. Fruits can be either dry or ripe. 

Fruits that are ripe include mango, plums, berries, or peach. Dry fruits include nuts, acorns, or grains. Chocolate does not have any seeds and it does not fit into the dry or ripe fruit category either. 

However, cocoa pods can be definitely classified as ripe fruit as it has a sweet flesh surrounding the seeds.

Let us look into the types of fruits. The types of fruits can be classified as Simple, Aggregate, Multiple, and Accessory. Fleshy fruits are further classified into Berry, Drupe, Hesperdium, Pepo, and Pome. Cocoa pods come under the berry category.

This is because the pod contains many seeds and these seeds are surrounded by sweet fibrous flesh. This makes the cocoa pod a berry.

Besides, chocolate is prepared from a variety of ingredients and not just cocoa. Some of these ingredients are milk solids, lecithin, sugar, vegetable fats, cocoa butter, preservatives, etc. 

Some optional ingredients that can be present include nuts, fruits/ dry fruits, chocolate liquor, and milk (for milk chocolate). A bar of simple chocolate can be prepared just from cocoa beans and sugar. 

As a result, chocolate cannot be called a fruit. Rather it is a food item or a byproduct of a fruit (cocoa pods).

Can cocoa beans be called nuts?

No, cocoa beans are not nuts. Cocoa beans are obtained from seeds of cocoa pods. As a result, they cannot be classified under legumes or seeds.

What is cocoa?

Cocoa beans are produced from cocoa seeds. These seeds can also be termed pods. These pods can appear 3-4 years after planting the cocoa plants. These pods can look like jackfruit as they are bigger in size.

Once the pods mature, they need to be harvested. Inside the seeds, there can be a pulp present. This pulp contains fiber. There are around 20-50 seeds present inside each pulp. 

These seeds can then be fermented. Once they are fermented, their purplish hue changes to brown. The process of fermentation can take up to 1-2 weeks.

After they have been fermented, the seeds are kept under the sun. They are allowed to dry for 5 days. Post the drying process, these seeds are loaded into trucks and taken.

In a manufacturing unit or company, these seeds are roasted. Sugar can be added to reduce the bitterness of these powders. A single chocolate bar is prepared using 400 seeds.

What are some parts of a cocoa tree?

The cocoa tree plant is very difficult to grow as it grows only under certain climatic conditions. The tree does not grow in high-altitude areas either. If the growing conditions or environmental conditions are not proper, the tree does not grow.

Some parts of the cocoa tree apart from pods are given below:

  • Cacao leaves are the leaves of cocoa plants. When these leaves fall onto the ground, they start to become decomposed. This is because fungi and other organisms decompose these leaves. 
  • Cocoa flowers are present on the trunks of cocoa trees. It might be present on the branches of cocoa plants too. They are pollinated by some insects like midges. 

The plant depends on humans, insects, or animals to disperse its seeds by opening the flowers. Trees cannot open these flowers by themselves.

What are some cocoa varieties grown?

Forestro variety of cocoa is the most common and popular form of cocoa that is grown. Only 5 percent of cultivated cocoa is of another type which is called Criollo.

Trinitario beans are a hybrid variety prepared by mixing Forestro and Criollo. This variety has qualities from both Forestro and Criollo beans.

For instance, Forestro beans have the quality of resistance to diseases whereas Criollo has a delicate taste. Trinitario beans have both of these qualities. There are many other varieties of cocoa but these ones are commonly grown. 

Conclusion

In this brief article, we have answered the question, “Is chocolate a fruit?” and provided information on why chocolate is not a fruit, what is cocoa, some parts of a cocoa tree as well as varieties of cocoa.

Reference

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3038885/

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