My in-laws who live in Puerto Rico acquired two cacao pods and mailed them to us! My father in law told us to open the pod, scoop out the inner pulp, rinse be beans and dry them.
The pods were really tough to cut open. I used my largest chef’s knife and applied a lot of pressure to get through the hard skin and thick inner wall. The pod smelled really “ripe”. After reading about the processing of cacao beans this fermentation is not only desirable but essential to creating what we recognize as the chocolate flavor. These arrived on our hot Connecticut doorstep in a very overripe condition and naturally fermenting. The mucilage around the seeds/beans was really thick, oily and difficult to wash off. After just 24 hours, even in this humidity, the beans are drying quickly. I I’m not sure what we will do with them next… maybe try to plant some, use the raw cacao nibs or even try to hand roast them in a pan. I believe some research is in order-