When it comes to carob , most people imagine that it is an exotic fruit that has come from afar.  In reality, the cultivation of Ceratonia , the evergreen tree that produces it, is still widespread in Sicily, especially in Ragusa and Syracuse, where the plant is commonly called ” carob “. The Arabs were probably the first to cultivate it, even if, by now, it is widespread all over the world. It looks like a green pod at first, then brown when it reaches maturity.

Carob: the benefits it brings to the body

Not everyone knows that carobs belong to the legume family and, consequently, share all its properties. Carobs are rich in fiber and protein, have an effective antioxidant action, are low in fat and provide help against seasonal ailments , such as flu, cough and allergies. It is also a valid ally in the fight against cholesterol and an excellent food to be taken for those who suffer from hypertension or diseases of the cardiovascular system. 

Taking it at the end of meals helps digestion and assimilation of other foods eaten , allowing you to keep your weight under control. It can also be taken as a tablet supplement. It can also be used as an additive as it is able to retain very large quantities of water and is very useful in the food industry. 

It also contains vitamin B2 and minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium and zinc, proving very useful in the prevention of osteoporosis. It also helps in case of dysentery in children in its powder version, while, on the other hand, the fresh pulp is laxative

However, the excessive consumption of this fruit in certain physical conditions, such as pregnancy, can be dangerous because it can produce weight loss and decrease in glucose and insulin in the blood. It is an excellent chocolate substitute for those with allergies or intolerances to the latter as it has a similar taste and is also suitable for vegan diets. For more information it is possible to consult the in-depth analysis ” carob and its benefits ” proposed by the blog of Panieriebio , an e-commerce portal where it is possible to buy safe and high quality organic products.

Carob based cuisine

In ancient times, carob was a very popular food due to its energizing characteristics and was called ” Bread of St. John ” because it seems to be one of man’s favorite foods during wanderings and periods of hermitage. The Berbers used it in cooking to aid digestion and in Egypt, along with other ingredients such as honey and oats, it was eaten by those suffering from intestinal problems. It can be eaten fresh or baked

It is a good thickener , especially in the production of ice cream. It can also be found in the form of an extract or as a dried pod . The seeds, called carats, once used as a unit of measure for gold and whose name we still use in jewelry, are quite hard and are not suitable to be consumed without being worked on. 

However they can be used for the production of flour , which is used above all in the confectionery sector and which is referred to as ” carcao “. From this fruit it is also possible to obtain a spreadable cream or a liqueur , widespread above all in Sicily, Spain and Turkey. In Arab countries it is used as a syrup , while in other countries it is transformed into a coffee substitute . A typical Sicilian recipe based on carob and mustata , in which, in addition to the food in syrup format, corn starch and sugar are added. 

The original combination would involve the use of sweetened red wine must which, however, can be replaced by the fruit, making the dish lighter and more nutritious. Finally, carob flour can be used to protect food to be frozen . A precaution for those who use this flour for cooking and to balance the sugar well, as it already has a small concentration inside.