The carob is familiar to the Eastern Mediterraneans, as it has been cultivated in the Middle East for at least 4000 years. The carob tree was well-known to the ancient Greeks, who have planted seeds of this plant in Greece and Italy.
Carob is a highly versatile and useful tree to humans as there is a wide range of products derived from its fruit and timber. Primarily, foods for both human and animal consumption are obtained from it's seeds, pulp and seed pods. Every part of the fruit is able to be consumed.
Carob in Food
The fruit of the Carob tree can be eaten either green or after having been processed. The Inside the seed pod there are up to 15 seeds surrounded by a saccharine pulp. This product is used in the manufacture of food stuffs, especially confectionery used as a stabilizer, emulsifier, thickener or to to prevent sugar crystallization. The other major food source derived from Carob is taken from the ground up pod itself, which forms a high protein powder that is an effective substitute for Cocoa powder.
Carob powder has a number of advantages over Cocoa powder and as such is often used to make what has come to be known as 'healthy chocolate' . Used in this manner Carob has become a popular chocolate substitute used in a huge variety of confectionery products and drinks as well as a general sweetener. Carob is also used to make flour, molasses, alcohol and a substitute for coffee and eggs.