(Natural News) Jackfruit is a unique and exotic fruit with a subtle sweet flavor. The results of a study revealed that aside from being a versatile ingredient, jackfruit can also be used as an alternative to cocoa powder used to make cappuccino.
The study, which was published in the journal PLOS ONE, was conducted by scientists from the Sao Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) at the University of Sao Paulo’s Luiz de Queiroz College of Agriculture (ESALQ-USP) in Brazil.
According to the researchers, they discovered a way to make a cappuccino mixture using jackfruit. Based on the study results, roasted jackfruit seeds can replace between 50 percent and 75 percent of cocoa blended with milk and coffee to make cappuccino, all without changing the aroma or flavor of the drink.
Fernanda Papa Spada, a food scientist and a recipient of the scholarship, explained that flour made from roasted jackfruit seeds “naturally releases a mild chocolate aroma.” Spada worked with her supervisor Solange Guidolin Canniatti-Brazaca, a professor at FAPESP in the Department of Agroindustry, Food and Nutrition.
The researchers were motivated to look for a natural cocoa substitute because of the increasing international demand for cocoa. Spada noted that this increase is caused by the rising demand for chocolate without a corresponding growth in supply, especially since cocoa-producing countries are unable to boost their output.
The International Cocoa Organization revealed that 4.568 million metric tons (mt) of cocoa beans were processed in the 2017-18 crop year, which was almost the same as the total world production (4.645 million mt). The leading cocoa producer in 2017-18 was the Ivory Coast, which accounted for approximately 40 percent of the total. The country was followed by Ghana, Indonesia, Ecuador, Cameroon, Nigeria, and Brazil.
According to Brazilian law, the formulation of milk chocolate drinks and other chocolate preparations must contain at least 25 percent cocoa powder. With the exception of dark and semi-dark chocolate with 35 percent cocoa powder, premium products usually contain less than 30 percent cocoa powder. Chocolate powder usually has about 30 to 50 percent cocoa powder and cocoa butter while dairy ingredients (e.g., butter, dried milk, flavoring, and sugar) make up the rest.
Canniatti-Brazaca said that the increasing demand for cocoa and stagnant supply are major challenges for the food industry. These problems called for the search for new cocoa substitutes that can be used in chocolate and chocolate products.
Making jackfruit cocoa powder
Jackfruit seeds were first identified as a chocolate-flavored ingredient during an earlier ESALQ-USP project, which was conducted from 2010 to 2013 by Canniatti-Brazaca’s group and Miriam Coelho de Souza, a researcher at Piracicaba Methodist University (UNIMEP) in Sao Paulo State University.
Canniatti-Brazaca commented that based on study findings, out of all the fruit varieties studied, only the seeds of the hard jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus) “released intense chocolate-like aromas.”
The accidental discovery of jackfruit as a cocoa alternative happened during a class led by Souza. Students were working on the development of food products made from on waste left over from fruit processing, and one student baked a loaf of bread made from jackfruit seed flour. Surprisingly, the bread “smelled strongly of chocolate.”
Following the accidental discovery, a handful of studies were performed at ESALQ-USP. The study published in PLOS ONE showed that flour could then be made from roasted dry or fermented seeds of hard jackfruit to produce an aroma similar to the chocolate used in cappuccino.
Cappuccino is currently sold as an instant powder made with coffee, milk, and chocolate. However, the quality and amount of chocolate may vary depending on the manufacturer. Spada noted that while some expensive products use chocolate powder, others include artificial flavoring instead.
Both coffee and chocolate have a unique flavor and aroma because of volatile compounds derived from roasting and fermentation. The researchers were tasked with determining the ideal conditions for roasting and fermenting jackfruit seeds to produce a flour with a chocolate-like aroma of optimal intensity “without impairing or even altering the coffee flavor of cappuccino.”
To achieve this, the researchers studied the chemical composition of jackfruit seed flour, which had no flavor but releases a chocolate aroma after roasting. Spada explained that the flour must be fermented first to release the chocolate aroma.
Through sensory analysis, the researchers determined that dry jackfruit seed flour can be incorporated as an ingredient in cappuccino formulations. Substituting jackfruit flour for chocolate powder at 50 to 75 percent was ideal since it doesn’t alter the acceptability and sensory characteristics of the final product.
Spada commented that according to the test participants, “the aroma of the cappuccino preparations made with dry jackfruit seeds resembled cappuccino, chocolate, cinnamon, and coffee, with cappuccino and chocolate flavors.”
Fast facts on jackfruit
Jackfruit is a large fruit with edible pulp and seeds.
- The plant grows in tropical areas.
- Jackfruit is a common ingredient in Indian and Southeast Asian cuisine.
- The fruit has bulbs of sticky yellow flesh with a strong sweet aroma, with each bulb enclosing a seed.
- Jackfruit seeds, which are an agroindustrial byproduct, must first be boiled or roasted before they can be eaten.
- Jackfruit is a great source of calories and carbohydrates. (Related: 14 Amazing Uses And Health Benefits Of Jackfruit.)
- The fruit is full of fiber, along with different vitamins and minerals.
You can read more articles about research findings on the use of fruits in food products at Fruits.news.