What Is Carob
Carobs are the fruit of the Ceratonia siliqua tree , commonly called the carob tree. These fruits are legumes to all intents and purposes , given that the carob tree is part of the legume family (Fabaceae). Also the fruits of the carob tree are therefore organized in indehiscent pods , about 15 cm long and containing very hard, round and flattened seeds, called carats. Carobs are used in the food sector, both in human and animal nutrition , but above all in the food industry as an additive . This ingredient, also known as E410 , has the ability toabsorb water up to 50-100 times its weight . For this reason, locust bean flour is used as a thickener in many food preparations , including canned meats and ice creams .
The raw pulp of the carob has a sweetish taste , very similar to cocoa.
Its use for proven health benefits dates back 4,000 years to ancient Greece. According to the Encyclopedia of Healing Foods, 19th-century British chemists sold carob pods to singers to help keep their vocal cords healthy, and to soothe and clear the throat.
Carob is commercially available in various forms:
- tablet supplements
The ancient Greeks were the first to grow carob trees, which are now grown all over the world, from India to Australia. Each carob tree is of the same sex, so it takes a male and female tree to produce carob pods. A single male tree can pollinate up to 20 female trees. After six or seven years, a carob tree is capable of producing pods.
Once a female carob tree is fertilized, she produces hundreds of pounds of dark brown pods filled with brown pulp and tiny seeds. The pods are 1/2 to 1 foot long and about an inch wide, and are harvested during the fall months.
Carobs are considered particularly healthy legumes thanks to their modest fiber content , their antioxidant properties , and the reduced quantity of fats and sugars . Not only that, the fruits contain no caffeine and are gluten -free . Carob is also an excellent source of vitamins and minerals . Contains group B vitamins (2,3,6) and minerals such as copper , calcium , manganese , potassium , magnesium , zinc , selenium . Carob is alsorich in pectin and protein .
How To Use It In The Kitchen
The most common use of carob is in food . Carob has a chocolate-like flavor and is an excellent alternative in the preparation of desserts as a thickener . Because carob is naturally sweet, it can help replace sugar .
During cooking , you can substitute the carob for the chocolate in a 1 to 1 ratio. You can also substitute the carob chips for the chocolate chips. If you are lactose intolerant or vegan , carob is also a great dairy -free alternative .
From the dried and ground carobs we obtain a flour used as:
- Cocoa substitute
- Food additive
- Diet food .
Carob: The Health Benefits
Adding carob to your diet can provide many health benefits. Since carob is naturally high in fiber and contains no caffeine, it is ideal for people with high blood pressure . The reduced sugar and fat content also makes it an excellent dietary food and a valid substitute for chocolate for people on a slimming diet. High levels of vitamins , such as vitamins A and B-2, are especially beneficial for skin and eye health .
Consuming carob can help lower cholesterol , reduce the risk of heart disease , relieve stomach problems and treat diarrhea .
Like cocoa, carob contains polyphenols , which are antioxidants known to reduce the risk of heart disease . Carob tannins , which are dietary compounds found in plants, are different from normal plant tannins, and have a drying effect on the digestive tract that helps fight toxins and prevent harmful bacterial overgrowth in the gut .
The natural sugars in carob also help thicken loose stools . Scientific research suggests that carob seed juice may be a safe and effective way to treat diarrhea in young children and adults. Check with your doctor before taking carob as a supplement.
Side Effects From Excessive Consumption
Consuming a lot of carob could have some side effects, particularly for pregnant women. Excess of this food can cause unintentional weight loss and decreased blood sugar and insulin levels . Additionally, people with nut and legume allergies may exhibit allergic reactions , such as asthma and rashes.