Over 5000 Years Old!
Carob is a legume that comes from the carob tree (Ceratonia siliqua), an evergreen tree native to the Mediterranean (it is actually a shrub that is trained into tree form by pruning). Today it is also grown in other warm climates including Florida and the southwestern United States.
Carob has been used for food for over 5000 years and continues to play an important role in Jewish tradition. It is also called "honey locust" or St. John's Bread as this was consumed by John the Baptist while he was in the wilderness (Matt. 3:4). The husks that were eaten by the Prodigal Son in Jesus' parable (Luke 15:16) were discarded carob pods.
A Very Nutritious Treat
In addition to not having the negative effects of chocolate, carob is very nutritious. Carob contains as much Vitamin B1 as asparagus or strawberries; as much niacin as lima beans, lentils, or peas; and more Vitamin A than eggplant, asparagus, and beets. It also contains Vitamin B2, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and the trace minerals iron, manganese, chromium, copper, and nickel. It contains approximately 8 percent protein and is a good source of fiber. Compared to chocolate, carob is three times richer in calcium, has one third less calories and seventeen times less fat.
Carob also has therapeutic uses. It is known to halt serious cases of diarrhea in adults, infants, and animals. Use 1 tablespoon of carob power in a cup of liquid, or make a paste of carob powder and water. It is also known to help with nausea, vomiting, and upset stomach. One French physician successfully reversed kidney failure with carob. Use approximately 2 teaspoons carob powder in unsweetened cranberry juice four or five times daily. A decoction of the leaves and bark has been useful for syphilis and venereal diseases, and seems to have a soothing effect on epilepsy.
Carob is a chocolate lovers delight as it is not only delicious, but low in fat and calories, caffeine free, and lacks the health risks of chocolate. Please give carob a try. Different carob products taste differently, as some taste more chocolate like than others. Therefore, try out several different carob products, and congratulate yourself on treating yourself to a healthy and delicious treat.
Additional information about carob:
- 1 ounce of carob powder has about 100 calories, which is about 1/4 cup in measure. This amount has about 10 grams of fiber and 0.18 grams (virtually none) of fat.
- Carob powder also contains B complex vitamins, magnesium, iron, manganese, chromium, and copper. It takes 2 medium/large dry carob pods to make 1 ounce in weight.
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