People who don’t know Carob very well think it’s a health food shop version of chocolate, but it’s so much more!
Mix carob with raw chocolate for a lovely sweet, high calcium treat.
Chocolate has lots of magnesium, carob has lots of calcium.
Carob is a legume that comes from the carob tree (Ceratonia siliqua), an evergreen tree native to the Mediterranean (it is actually a shrub that is trained into tree form by pruning).
Today it is also grown in other warm climates.
This Carob comes from Turkey or Spain, and is wild, unsprayed and nutrient-dense.
Carob, or St. John’s Bread, as it is commonly known, is a large (4-12 inch long) dried, bean-like pod.
Inside the carob pods are tiny beans which are used to make locust bean gum, a stabiliser and thickener in foods.
The carob pods themselves are roasted and ground into carob powder.
The tree bears fruit (carob pods) after six to eight years of growth, and can easily bear 100 pounds of pods per year by its twelfth year, increasing to an average of 200 to 250 pounds annually as the tree grows older. It can continue to bear fruit for 100 years.
Carob powder can be used to replace cocoa at levels from 25-50%.
While carob performs like cocoa, it differs in sugar and fat content. Cocoa may contain up to 23% fat and 5% sugar while carob has .7% fat and a natural sugar content of 42-48%.
Nutritionally, carob has none of the allergy-producing antibodies or the caffeine stimulant theobromine found in the cocoa bean.
Carob contains as much vitamin B1 as asparagus or strawberries, the same amount of niacin as lima beans, lentils or peas and more vitamin A than eggplant, asparagus and beets.
It is also high in vitamin B2, calcium, magnesium and iron.
It contains approximately 8% protein and is a good source of fibre. Compared to chocolate, carob is three times richer in calcium, has one third less calories and seventeen times less fat.
In addition to being a delicious and healthful foodstuff, carob powder is used as a tobacco flavouring and in the production of some pharmaceuticals.
Try some for yourself today, it is delicious and much more than just a substitute for chocolate.