Cacao nibs are small pieces of crushed cocoa beans which hold a large number of nutritional benefits. The cacao nibs have a bitter chocolate flavor, much the same as the cocoa beans. Before being crushed, the cocoa beans are dried and fermented, which further adds to the flavor.
Cacao nibs can either be bought roasted or raw, and make a great staple in the pantry thanks to their unique and rich flavor, as well as their abundant health benefits.
Buying some cacao nibs is the first step, but how do you store them? When storing cacao nibs, you will need to make sure that they are in an airtight container, which allows them to stay as fresh as possible before being used, and you can even freeze them if you aren’t going to use them all any time soon.
Storing Cacao Nibs
Cacao nibs can last for several years if kept in the right condition and stored properly.
- To ensure your cacao nibs last as long as possible, you should store them in an airtight container, or in an airtight plastic bag.
- The container with the cacao nibs should be kept in a dark, cool and dry location.
- Make sure to press out all of the air from the packaging before sealing and resealing it, or transfer the cacao nibs to a glass jar that seals tightly to maintain their freshness for an extended period.
If you see any signs of rot or mold, or if the cacao nibs have a strange aroma, you should discard them.
Freezing Cacao Nibs
If you have bought a large batch of cacao nibs and do not plan to use them all in the near future, you can freeze the extra cacao nibs in order to make them last longer.
- To do this, it is a good idea to lay the cacao nibs flat on a baking sheet, spread out as much as possible, and place them in the freezer for 30 minutes.
- Once they have been in the freezer for 30 minutes and have hardened and separated, you can transfer them to a resealable freezer bag, or to an airtight freezer container.
- If you are freezing them in a freezer bag, try and push out as much air as possible, as the moisture in the air might ruin the quality of the cacao nibs.
Freezing them on a baking tray for 30 minutes will not result in them being completely frozen, but it freezes them enough to remain separate from each other when placed in a freezer bag, so they do not freeze together as one big clump which makes it difficult to work with when you need the cacao nibs.
If you are planning on using the cacao nibs in muffins or as additions in breakfasts, you could always freeze them in smaller portions which make it easier to use them, without having to try and separate them from a big frozen bunch.
When freezing cacao nibs, label them with the date of freezing to keep a track of when you should use them by.
Benefits of Cacao Nibs
Cacao nibs have some great benefits. In fact, they have all the benefits of dark chocolate, but without the added sugar.
Cacao nibs are high in protein, fiber, and antioxidants which help to fight off free radicals, which cause damage to the body. For this reason, they are considered a superfood.
With a high content of fiber and fats, cacao nibs help you feel full for longer, which is ideal for those who want a bit of the chocolate taste while trying to control their appetite and sugar intake.
Cacao nibs contain flavonoids which can help to decrease inflammation as well. They actually contain more antioxidant flavonoids compared to blueberries, green and black teas, and red wine.
Cacao nibs pack more nutrients the closer to their natural state they are kept, and some of these nutrients can help to reduce stress and lower cardiovascular disease.
While chocolate is a guilty pleasure to many, the cacao nib is exempt from this. It does not contain heaps of sugar which are found in commercial chocolate and instead have the same bitter chocolate taste, with all the nutrients possible, without being bad for you.
Cacao nibs also contain a nutrient and chemical which has been proven to increase moods, so eating more cacao nibs can help to improve your moods each day!
If you’re looking to buy some cacao nibs, we highly recommend the cacao nibs from Terrasoul.
The Different Forms Of Cacao
Cacao nibs are not the only form of cacao you can enjoy at home, there are a few different ways cocoa beans are prepared to be used in the kitchen.
Cacao beans – These are the actual beans which are extracted from the pod. Cacao beans are in their original, whole and unprocessed form.
Cacao paste – Cacao paste is made by grinding the whole cacao beans into a liquid, and is also known as cacao liquor. This cacao liquid is then partially dried, which results in a paste.
Cacao butter – Cacao butter is the fat that is extracted from the cacao bean and is used often in cooking and baking.
Cacao powder – Cacao powder is what remains of the cacao paste after the fat has been extracted.
How Do You Use Cacao Nibs?
Cacao nibs can be used in a variety of ways, and many people choose to toast or roast their cacao beans first, as it gives them a wonderfully rich flavor.
They can be used in both sweet and savory dishes to add a bit of richness to the dish. Commonly, people use cacao beans as an added ingredient in their morning oats, for that chocolate flavor without all the sugar. They can also be used in smoothies to give them more richness.
Cacao nibs also make a great addition when used for granola or homemade trail mix, and really help to fulfill the chocolate craving in the healthiest of ways.
To add texture to different dishes, cacao nibs can be used in muffins, in ice-cream or as a topping on a dessert, for that extra bit of crunch.
While roasting cacao nibs help to enhance a more rich flavor, they might lose some of their nutritional benefits when they are heated up, so it is best to use them in their raw form where possible.
However, toasted or roasted cacao nibs still have more nutritional value than cocoa powder, so you don’t need to feel too guilty if you prefer them roasted.
How Are Cacao Nibs Made?
Cacao nibs are made once the cacao beans have been harvested by being removed from their pods, fermented and dried. The cacao beans are then crushed, which form the cacao nibs. Some manufacturers sell their cacao nibs raw, while others roast them before packaging and selling them.
Cacao nibs are also used to make cacao paste, cacao butter, cacao powder and other chocolate products such as chocolate bars, chocolate sauces, and chocolate beverages.
How long do cacao beans last?
If stored properly in an airtight container, out of sunlight and in a dry, cool place, cacao beans can remain good for up to 2 years. If you open the packaging, you will need to use the cacao nibs within 3 months.
Do raw cacao nibs melt?
Raw cacao nibs do not melt, much the same way that you cannot melt coffee beans. By heating the cacao nibs in the oven, you will land up with roasted cacao nibs, which have a wonderful toasted flavor but watch to not overcook them.
They will keep their shape and texture. This is what makes them great in desserts, oats, smoothies, and ice-cream, as they add a wonderfully crunchy texture and that bitter chocolate taste that can satiate your chocolate cravings.
You can grind down cacao nibs until they resemble a fine paste, and they will seem like melted chocolate, but they cannot actually be melted.
Can I add cacao nibs to my coffee?
One great way to utilize the rich, bitter taste of cacao nibs is to add them to your coffee. To do this, you can throw in ½ a teaspoon of cacao nibs into your coffee grinder along with the coffee beans.
You should use ½ teaspoon of cacao nibs for every 2 cups of coffee beans. Grind the coffee beans and cacao nibs down and use them to brew your coffee in your preferred coffee maker.
Storing Cacao Nibs
For such small little things, cacao nibs have such a strong, rich flavor, as well as many different health benefits, especially when consumed raw.
There is a reason that cacao is considered the Food of the Gods. The superfood was believed to have divine origins, as it has so many healing and nutrient qualities, as well as tasting so great when used to make chocolate or a cocoa drink.
Being able to be used in so many different ways, and in so many different forms, you should keep your cacao nibs stored properly at home, to ensure they last as long as possible.