- Common names: carob, Egyptian fig tree, Pythagoras bean, St. John the Baptist bread, Carouge.
- Botanical name: Ceratonia siliqua.
- Type: fruit (pod, seeds).
- Uses: Carob powder can be used as cocoa powder.
- Provenances: Mediterranean basin, Peru, also cultivated in many countries around the world.
- Supplier for the Auberge: Biocoop or Sol Semilia.
Fruit of the carob tree, a tree that grows throughout the Mediterranean basin, the carob is a flat and slightly curved pod, 10 to 30 centimetres long, first green and then dark brown when it reaches maturity. The carob tree is also found in Peru (for thousands of years), and in the form of crops in South Africa, the Near East, the United States, Australia and Mexico
Belonging to the fabaceae family, its botanical name Ceratonia siliqua refers to its appearance. Thus the term “ceratonia” derives from the Greek word “keratia” meaning “little horn” and the Latin term “siliqua” refers to the pod or silica; as for the term “Carob”, it derives from the Arabic “kharrub” meaning “pod”. The pod consists of carob pulp and seeds.
Known since ancient times, this tree is at the origin of the definition of the unit of measurement of precious stones, the carat, which is still in use today. Because of the constant weight of the seeds contained in the pods, they were used as a reference to establish this system of units (1 carat is equal to the weight of a locust bean seed, or 0.2 grams).
From the carob tree come two products: carob gum from the seed shell and carob flour from the pod.
These can then be transformed into carob bean gum, which is white in colour and neutral in taste. If this product and its properties are natural, it most often receives chemical treatments, causing it to lose all nutritional interest.
Fortunately, its pulp is not to be outdone: roasted or not before being ground, it is made into a brown to beige powder (called “carob powder”) (depending on whether it is raw or not). This powder is used like cocoa, of which it is one of the best substitutes since it does not stimulate the body (it does not contain alkaloids, with exciting effects, no caffeine, tannins…) and is particularly rich in polyphenols (antioxidants). Its caramelized and delicately sweet taste reminds us of milk chocolate. It is naturally gluten-free and is not known to be allergenic.
Carob pulp is one of the superfoods, provided you choose it raw. It is low in fat, high in fibre. Known to help regulate transit and fight digestive disorders, it is rich in antioxidants, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, iron, silica, and pectin. It has a low glycemic index.
Sources about superfoods:
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