Whole Raw Carob Pods
article courtesy of http://www.rawhealth.net
Common name: St. Johnís bread
The Carob Tree
The carob tree is a member of the legume (pea) family and it grows in Mediterranean areas.
It favours arid conditions which are naturally alien to fungus and pests so little or no
chemical sprays are needed in its cultivation. It is a large tree and grows to 15m in 50
years. It produces no fruit for the first 15 years of its life, but will fruit well into
its old age. A large tree can produce one ton of beans in one harvest.
The carob tree flowers in September and October. The flowers on female carob trees must be
pollinated by pollen from the male trees. Developing carob pods have the appearance of
green broad beans but they turn a dark glossy brown with maturity. They are between
4"and 10"long and weigh 0.75 to 1.5 oz\. The pods contain four series of oval
holes, each bearing a seed like a watermelon seed. Each pod can contain up to 15
seeds. Carob seeds and pods are edible. The ground seeds are used as a substitute
for cocoa and as a food (also known as algarroba, St. John's bread, and locust bean
gum). The pods are commonly used as cattle feed. Carob powder is also used as a food
stabilizer and as a darkening agent.
Harvesting & Processing
Carob pods are usually processed in their country of origin. They are both dry and wet
cleaned and kibbled (coarsely ground) to separate the seeds from the pulp. The seeds are
then processed to produce locust bean gum (ceratonia or carob bean gum). T his is a
natural product used as a gelling agent, stabilizer or emulsifier in ice-cream, dessert
fruit filling and salads.
The gum may be mixed with tragacanth gums (E143) which exude from the trunk and branches
of another species of the pea family. This is also used as a stabilizer, emulsifier,
thickener, or to prevent sugar crystallisation in confectionery. An oil called
algaroba is extracted from the carob seeds to be used for medicinal purposes. After
seed extraction, the pods are roasted, milled and sieved and then stored in controlled
conditions to prevent them becoming hard and lumpy. Carob powder is used in baking
and food manufacture. It is naturally sweet so no added sugar varieties are available.
Non-dairy carob bars use vegetable fat, soya flour and soya lecithin as an emulsifier.
History of Carob
Although it has only been used in manufacture and baking in Britain for some 20 years,
carob is by no means a newly discovered food. The Greek Theophratus recorded in 4BC that
his contemporaries called the carob the Egyptian fig. Ancient Egyptians used the gummy
properties of carob seed by using it as an adhesive in binding mummies and the pods and
seeds have been found in Egyptian tombs. The Romans are said to have eaten the pods when
green and fresh for their natural sweetness.
Many scholars believe that John the Baptist lived on carob pods as"the locust
bean"in another name for carob. Another biblical reference to carob pods is also
probable in the parable of the prodigal son who squandered his inheritance and so became a
servant, looking after the pigs."He would gladly have fed on the pods that the swine
ate ..."- the pods would most probably have been the pods of the carob trees which
would still produce crops in times of drought and famine.
Alternative to chocolate
Carob has rightly been coined the healthy alternative to chocolate. As most of us are now
aware, carob is free from the stimulants caffeine and theobromine found in chocolate. It
is also naturally sweet, so carob products will generally contain substantially less sugar
than their chocolate counterparts. Carob powder can be substituted for cocoa powder
in any recipe. Carob is also available in bars, drops and in confectionery.
Advantages of Carob over
Carob is free from caffeine and theobromine which can be addictive and can cause
allergies. Caffeine and theobromine are stimulants. Caffeine is the most active and works
directly on the brain stimulating the senses, inspiration and alertness. It can be
transmitted through breast milk and pregnant women are advised to restrict their caffeine
intake. Caffeine has analgesic properties but also has side-effects such as anxiety,
nervousness, nausea, and palpitations. Caffeine not only stimulates the brain and other
organs but also increases the heart rate. It can provoke emotional reactions. It
stimulates the gastric juices and acts as a diuretic and so can cause excess loss of the
water soluble vitamins B & C. Caffeine stimulates release of the body's stored energy
reserves, meaning that sugars are released into the blood. This can increase the risk of
diabetes and possibly obesity and can cause mood swings.
How much do it eat?
Commonly, 15 grams of carob powder is mixed with applesauce for children. Adults should
take at least 20 grams a day. The powder can be mixed in applesauce or with sweet
potatoes. Carob should be taken with plenty of water. Please note that infant diarrhea
must be monitored by a health care professional and that proper hydration with a high
electrolyte fluid is critical during acute diarrhea. Carob is free from
phenylethylamine which can trigger migraines. It is free fromamine which can trigger
migraines and allergic reactions.
Carob is up to 8% protein and contains vitamins A, B, B2, B3 and D. It is also high in
calcium, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium and contains iron, manganese, barium, copper
and nickel. However, it should of course only be eaten in moderation alongside a balanced
diet. It has no oxalic acid which prevents the body using calcium and zinc. These
minerals are vital to a healthy skin and the presence of oxalic acid in chocolate may be
connected to the onset of spottiness noticed by some teenagers on the consumption of
larger amounts of chocolate.
The main constituents of carob are large carbohydrates (sugars) and tannins. The sugars
make carob gummy and able to act as a thickener to absorb water and help bind together
watery stools. Tannins from carob, being water insoluble, do not bind proteins as some
tannins do. Carob tannins do bind to (and thereby inactivate) toxins and inhibit growth of
bacteriaóboth of which are beneficial when it comes to diarrhea. Dietary
fiber and sugars may make food more viscous in the stomach and thus interfere with reflux
of acid into the esophagus.
Raw Whole Carob Pods can be hard to find.
Most carob that has been labeled "raw" has
been heated about 118 degrees. For truly raw carob powder, we reccomend The Raw Food World.