21.03.2014 23:07


Carob - The Chocolate of Europe


Ripe, delicious carob pods

Ripe, delicious carob pods

Let's be honest: whose mouth doesn´t get all watery just by the mere thought of chocolate?  Almost everyone loves chocolate, be it because of the taste, as comforter, mood-lifter, quick energizer or to keep you awake. While cacao without doubt has many phytochemicals that are beneficial for our health, it also contains stimulants such as caffeine and theobromine, which have a stimulating effect on the organism and can lead to adrenal exhaustion in the long run. Especially for people who are sensitive to cacao and children, carob is a wonderful alternative.

The carob tree (Ceratonia siliqua) grows in our latitudes in the southern Mediterranean regions such as Spain, Italy, Greece, France and Portugal. It is considered  as extremely undemanding and durable and requires no fertilizer, pesticides or other treatments of any kind

Many legends surround this majestic tree. He is said to be an "abode for fairies" and  that below his trunk treasures are buried, the larger the tree, the greater the treasure!

The German name "Johannisbrot" probably refers to the assumption that John the Baptist fed on this nutritious pod during his stay in the desert.

The carob fruits belong to the family of the legumes. They are first green, then chocolate brown, straight or curved and grow up to 20 cm long.

 

The pulp is removed, dried and ground into a very fine powder, which can be stored for very long without preservatives.

The sweet, fruity, chocolaty and caramel-like tasting powder can replace cacao in all recipes and can be used in many ways in the raw food kitchen. Since it contains natural sugars, it is usually sufficient to add very little or even no additional sweetener in recipes, unlike cacao, which is bitter by nature and usually needs a lot of sweetening.

Carob also has many valuable nutrients and minerals such as protein, vitamin A, C, B1, E, calcium, iron and is high in fiber, which stimulate and regulate intestinal peristalsis.

While I lived in southern Italy, I was introduced to a very special kind of carob tree, the "Carruba amele", the Honey Carob Tree, which as I was assured only grows in this small area,  the Salento in Puglia. If you open one of these pods, you will find small, honey-sweet droplets in there, which give the carob powder a particularly delicious sweet note after drying.  Now I use only this particular carob that has absolutely convinced me by it´s taste. If you would like to try it out, you can order some from me.

Here  is a summary of the main benefits of carob:

1) Grows in Europe, does not have to be imported from Central America, South America or Africa.

2) Contains no stimulating substances, as opposed to cacao.

3) It scores with valuable nutrients and minerals.

4) Especially  suitable for "cacao- sensitive” people and children.

5) Has a lot of health benefits.

6) Is naturally sweet, little or no further sweetener is needed in recipes.

7) Is incredibly versatile in it´s use.

8) Is cheaper than cacao.

I wish you a lot of fun experimenting with carob, the European chocolate!

Try this delicious Carob-Chocolate Pudding