Carob, sometimes known as locust beans or St. John's bread, is a versatile plant product that serves a prominent role in Mediterranean culinary traditions. This naturally sweet and mildly flavored ingredient, derived from the pods of the carob tree, is available in several forms such as powder, chips, or syrup. Offering a cocoa-like aroma, carob has found popularity as a chocolate substitute, and is frequently used in sweets and desserts.
The pods of the carob tree yield a pulp that, when dried and ground, produces a fine, brown powder reminiscent of cocoa. This resemblance, coupled with its natural sweetness, makes carob an excellent alternative for those seeking a caffeine-free or lower-fat option in their baking and cooking. Carob chips provide a delightful crunch in cookies, granola bars, and trail mixes, while the syrup serves as a sweetener in baked goods or as a drizzle on pancakes and waffles.
Beyond its role in the culinary world, carob has long been recognized for its potential health benefits. High in fiber and packed with essential vitamins and minerals, it can be a nutritious addition to a balanced diet. Whether it's stirred into a warm beverage, sprinkled over your morning cereal, or savored in a decadent dessert, carob's unique characteristics make it a worthwhile exploration in the realm of flavors.
Botanical Name: Ceratonia siliqua
Also Known As: St. John's Bread, Locust Bean, Carob Tree, Ceratonia siliqua, Algarrobo, Locust Pods, Sugar Pods