The ancient Greeks were the first who started growing carob trees (Ceratonia siliqua), which are now grown all over the world. Carob is the fruit of the carob tree and grows as dark brown pods that are long, thick, and slightly curved. Each carob tree is a single sex, so it takes a male and female tree to produce carob pods.
Carob is rich in fiber and antioxidants, and low in fat and sugar. It’s also gluten-free and contains no caffeine.
It tastes similar to chocolate with a hint of caramel, and it’s a great substitute for cacao, especially in recipes for kids, because it doesn’t contain any stimulants. If you want, you can mix carob and cocoa powder in order to give your desserts a unique taste and flavor.
Nutrition and health benefits
Carob is a natural antioxidant that provides anti-allergic, antiseptic and anti-bacterial benefits. It’s rich in vitamins, like vitamin B, E and D. It’s also high in minerals like potassium, calcium and magnesium. Carob is also high in fiber, pectin, and protein.
This makes it beneficial for your digestion, cholesterol management, weight loss, and cardiovascular health. It stabilizes blood glucose and it has anti-cancer properties. Carob also combats common colds or flu and diarrhea.
How to eat carob
You can use carob powder as a cocoa or cacao powder substitute in baked goods, smoothies, frozen yogurt or ice cream, and raw desserts. The carob powder could be either raw or roasted.
Daily dose and risks
The daily dose is about 20 grams of carob powder for adults and 10-15 grams for children.
Carob is considered safe and low risk. Allergies are rare, but people with nut and legume allergies might show allergic reactions to carob gum. It is possibly unsafe when used for infants with gastroesophageal reflux, for pregnant women, or for patients with anemia, diabetes, hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol) or hypouricemia (low uric acid).
Also, carob can burn, so you should set your oven 5°C or 25°F lower when baking with it exclusively.
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