8 Carob Facts Worth Their Weight in Gold
Now, many of you probably know about carob powder from the bulk section of your local health food, or for being an optional substitute for chocolate in all those vegan cookbooks you've got. But, carob is pretty cool all by itself, and it has a long and fascinating history that goes way back into antiquity.
1. The Stuff is Ancient
Way back in biblical times people were munching on this sweet little seed pod -- in fact, if you spot someone eating “locusts” in the Bible, it’s probably not an adventurous eater trying to make the most of the most recent plague, but somebody (namely St. John the Baptist) who was surviving on carob pods. Thus its moniker, “St. John’s Bread.”
2. It Tastes Like Chocolate, but isn’t chocolate
While raw cacao may have certain benefits that carob lacks, carob is slightly milder, and slightly sweeter in flavor. It’s a terrific addition to that plain old oatmeal bowl, your breakfast smoothie, and if you’re feeling particularly meta one day, your morning coffee. While we’re still so down with cacao, we dig carob because it has no caffeine and no theobromine, which is why it ends up getting substituted often for Willy Wonka’s favorite flavanol-packed super-bean.
Many people have dietary issues with the stimulants in cacao, which is why the caffeine-free, theobromine-free pods of the carob tree often find their way into cookies, cakes, and milkshakes!
3. You can share it with your pup
If you’ve got a pupperino, chances are the little guy wants whatever it is you’re eating at any given moment. One supremely ridiculous result of this flavor commonality is that some creative kooks are actually making chocolate-flavored dog treats!
4. Carob is definitely a solid source of fiber
If you’re looking for that digestive aid that’s been helping humans through hard times for literal millenia, look no further than carob! Just two tablespoons of the stuff has 20% of the fiber you need throughout your day according to the Food and Nutrition Board of these United States. What that means is that with carob in your belly you’ll feel fuller for longer, your bowels will remain unbothered, and that it’ll help maintain a healthy blood sugar.
5. It’s Like Really Really Ancient
Did you know that the carob pod was used to signify something “sweet” in Egyptian hieroglyphics? That’s right, all those old Ra-heads from way back painted carob pods on their walls to signify the entire flavor of sweet. What that means is that the deliciousness of carob literally predated alphabetic language (in Egypt)!
6. It’s Worth its Weight in Gold
Did you know where our word, “Carat,” comes from? Well since you’re already here, and cause you’re a very smart (carob chip) cookie, you’re probably thinking, “From carob, right?” And you’re very right, indeed. Carob seeds are extraordinarily hard (like break your teeth hard), and a very convenient size for weighing very small and very valuable things. So, way way way back in the day, merchants would weigh gems, metals and the like against carob seeds.
7. Aside from all this nonsense, it’s also very very good for ya
Apart from contributing to after-dinner desserts that’ll help you sleep at night (cause there ain’t no caffeine in these pretty pods), carob can also help you lower your cholesterol, reduce your risk of heart attack, and treat diarrhea -- cause of those polyphenols. As superfoods go, there are certainly more nutrient rich sources of fiber, but carob is appealingly sweet with virtually no reason not to eat it.
8. Raw Carob (like off the tree) is apparently very tasty
I have never tasted carob right off the tree, but I’ve watched about three youtube videos of this raw food fanatic trying Carob pod, and every time he takes a bite I kind of wish I was in his shoes. The fruit itself (which is where carob powder comes from) has a mild sweet and earthy flavor similar to cacao but minus a lot of the bitterness. The only thing you’ve got to watch out for are those impressively-solid seeds.