The more I consider the options of what I can get to greenhouse grow, the more I’m interested in cultivating a variety of nuts and spices to complement my focus on fruits. Nutmeg, cloves, allspice, black pepper, coffee, and alongside these, cocoa.
The missus and I were reconnoitering the conservatory at Matthei Botanical Gardens Sunday, and they have a decent-sized cocoa tree, maybe 13′-14′. Growing straight from the trunk were the seed pods, in various states of maturity, small green ones the size of an egg, large brown ones the size of a human heart.
The seed pods are full of seeds, or beans, which are first fermented, then dried, then roasted, then shelled, then ground. The fermentation and the roasting are the key to the flavor.
Sounds labor-intensive as hell, and a risky proposition for a novice like me. But what do I have to lose, save time and the pittance for a tree?