Carob or Algarrobo Trees

Carob or Algarrobo Pods
Carob or Algarrobo Pods

The carob is known in Spain as algarrobo. The evergreen tree is a member of the legume family (peas etc.), is native to the Mediterranean and will grow up to 50 feet. It is an attractive shade-giving tree to have in the garden. Carobs can be male, female or hermaphrodite with only the female trees producing pods. Developing pods look like green broad beans and grow to between 4″ and 12″. They are ready to harvest 11 months after pollination by which time they have turned a dark glossy brown. The trees bear fruit from the age of 6 to 8 years with a greater abundance every other year.

Carob pods & seeds if chewed, at either the green or brown stage, the carob pod has a sweet chocolate taste. The dark brown pods are not only edible, but are also rich in sucrose (almost 40% plus other sugars), protein (up to 8%), vitamins A, B1, B2, and the important minerals of phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, niacin and iron. They can be eaten directly by humans or livestock but are mostly used when ground into a flour as a cocoa substitute. Although it has a slightly different taste than chocolate, it has 66% less calories (1595 per pound), is virtually fat free (chocolate is half fat), is rich in pectin and lignin which regulate digestion and combine with harmful elements in digested food to carry them safely out of the body, is nonallergenic with no antibodies as found in cocoa, has no caffeine or theobromine stimulant and has no oxalic acid which interferes with absorbtion of calcium. Consequently, carob flour is widely used in health foods for chocolate-like flavouring.

The seeds of a carob pod are almost uniform in weight and were once used by goldsmiths as a measuring device – from where the term ‘carat’ originated.

How to Make Carob Flour

Method 1:
1) Wash pods and remove seeds (can be broken open with pliers).
2) Place in a pressure cooker for about 20 minutes at 15 pounds of pressure.
3) When cool cut now soft pods into small pieces and process in a blender until powdery.

Method 2:
1) Wash pods and remove seeds as for method 1.
2) Sun dry (or in a cooler climate use an oven at pilot light heat) for one day.
3) Grind in a stone grounder at a coarse setting.
4) Repeat step 2.
5) Regrind at a finer setting.
6) Optionally repeat steps 2 and 5.

Carob Recipes

Carob Brownies

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup carob powder
1 cup honey
2 eggs
1/2 cup nuts, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla

1) Sift flour, baking powder & salt together.
2) Melt butter in a small pan over low heat.
3) Add carob powder and honey and blend well, removing from the heat.
4) In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs and gradually add carob mixture.
5) Add the dry ingredients and mix well, then blend in the vanilla and nuts.
6) Pour into a greased or oiled baking tray or pan (approx 8″ square) and bake at 160C for about 45 minutes or until done.
7) Cut into slices.

Carob Cake

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup dark molasses
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup carob powder
2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup hot water
1 cup walnuts, chopped

1) Beat butter, honey and molasses together.
2) Add egg and beat again.
3) Sift the dry ingredients into the bowl alternating with the hot water.
4) Stir in the walnuts.
5) Pour into a lightly buttered pan (approx 9″ square) and bake at 160C for about 1 hour or until the cake easily separates from the sides of the pan.

Carob Frosting

This topping can be used on biscuits, brownies and the cake recipe above.
2 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup powdered milk
1/3 cup carob powder
1/4 cup honey
4 tablespoons cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

1) Cream butter, powdered milk and carob powder together.
2) Add the honey and cream and mix well.
3) Add vanilla and whip until smooth.

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