dry-ice.JPG   dry-ice-2.JPG Well, not a single person posted a guess what those previous photos were.  That's ok.  I would have been surprised if many worked it out.  It's something I get to see quite a bit.  It was the carbon dioxide wafting off the dry ice I use to blanket the cocoa bean stock here.  Why?  I'm glad you asked.  The number one reason is to keep cocoa moths from hatching.  It's one of the unexpected pitfalls of keeping organic stock - hatching moths.  It can really ruin stock.

Some years ago before I knew this could be a problem we had quite a hatch out and I lost quite a bit of cocoa - it technically was still good, but I just would not sell it.  I was not about to use anything toxic to keep them under control and could not reasonably keep all the stock refrigerated (the solution organic warehouses use) so I had to come up with another way to 'fumigate' the cocoa beans.  I found some references to using dry ice for grain storage, tried it out, and it worked perfect.  It pushes oxygen out of the way (notice how it flows down) and suffocates anything before it can mature and hatch.  So now, every month or so, I go out, get a block of dry ice, crack it up, and put a little in each container.  24 hours later, it's finished and the stock is safe.

Do you need to worry about doing this?  No, not really.  At least not if you are just buying a few pounds.  I've done it already.  It's something you may want to consider if you are getting full bags, just to be sure.

Very Alchemical isn't it.