What is carob?

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Also known as Ceratonia siliqua, the Carob is a species of flowering trees known as Fabaceae. Because of its edible nature, it is cultivated in many western places to substitute cocoa powder or ornament botanical gardens. Carob is more common in the Mediterranean region, Europe, and Northern Africa.

Carob is also referred to as the St. John’s bread and is often mistaken as locust bean because its pods form like “locusts”. During the wilderness, locusts were ones eaten by the John the Baptist. In history, carob were said to be first introduced in the United States. In 1873, the first few seeds of carobs were planted in California for commercial production. They usually grow more than 30 centimeters and prefer tropical places. Carobs were also used in the ancient Greece and Egypt as a main source of food. The fruit of the carob tree may be eaten raw. There are usually 15 seeds in its pod surrounded by a saccharine pulp. When separated from the pulp, the seeds may be made into a Carob bean gum.

Carob is very famous of its tropical pod, which contains sweet and pulpy seeds. Since the pods are edible, they are being dried, roasted, and ground to make a Carob powder. Its taste can be likened to the cocoa powder that is why many chocolates have Carob as their main ingredients. The best thing about carob is that it has no caffeine and theobromine making it more beneficial to health.

Carob contains higher calories compared to cocoa powder. One tablespoon of unsweetened carob is equivalent to 25 calories and 6 grams of carbohydrates with no cholesterol. Cocoa powder has 12 calories, 1 gram of fat, and 3 grams of carbohydrates. Carob also has a very good nutritional value with up to 80% protein.