Although the Carob Tree and pod have only been known in the Western world for a relatively short time, in the Middle East and the Mediterranean the pod and the seeds have been used for food for thousands of years. Indigo Herbs has acquired a fantastic quality Organic Carob Powder that can be used as an alternative to cocoa in many desserts and sweet snacks. We also bring you our rich and velvety Organic Carob Syrup. This ingredient should be of interest to those who also suffer from celiac disease or those with digestive trouble as Carob is renowned for being good for the digestive tract.
In the Middle East and North Africa Carob, has a long and esteemed history of being consumed as a food source. The Bible, Talmud and Mesopotamian texts all reference Carob as a food source for both humans and cattle. It is said that John the Baptist lived on an exclusive diet of Carob and honey lending the name ‘St. Johns Bread’ to the Carob pod. In the Talmud there are several stories of the tree being the source of food for important figures in the Judaism which miraculously appear out of the ground when needed. The Carob tree was so important that the Carob bean became the weight for measuring the weight of gold and precious gem stones. This is where the word ‘karat’ comes from, derived from the ancient Arabic word ‘kharrūb’ for the Carob bean. 24 Carob beans were the exact weight of a single gold Roman solidus coin which also became the designation for pure gold; ’24 karats’.
The Carob Tree still grows in the wild in the Mediterranean although it now is cultivated for agriculture. A drought resistant tree that is supposedly an off shoot of the legume family that is now extinct. It is possible that the Carob tree originates from before the last ice age and has now adapted to very hot conditions. Growing up to 15 meters tall with a round shape; with leaves around 10-20 centimetres long with a rough bark, and a thick sturdy trunk; the Carob tree only bears fruit on the female trees. The bean pods form at the same time as the flowers and so harvesting must be done with great care as to not disturb pollination and development of next year’s fruit.