The Cretan Superfood
The carob tree
Carob is the fruit of a long-lived tree, the locust bean (Ceratonia siliqua), which is produced mainly in the Mediterranean. Carob is similar to the bean fruit and has been used as a natural sweetener since ancient times.
The locusts (or wood horns) when unripe are long, twisted and hard green, while when ripe their color turns dark brown. A ripe locust bean fruit contains up to twenty brown and very hard lentil seeds. Carob can be eaten raw, but also as a powder, known as carob flour. Because it has a sweet taste and is similar to that of chocolate and cocoa, it can be used in various recipes as a substitute, as it has fewer calories.
Carob it is a food rich in carbohydrates (glucose and sucrose), so it can give us immediate energy, but also fiber. It is also rich in protein and low in fat. The nutrients it contains make it a "superfood". It is very digestible does not contain gluten. In addition, it contains vitamin A, B vitamins and trace elements such as potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, manganese and copper.
When carob is boiled, a thick liquid is produced that looks like honey, the so-called "carob honey". Its taste is similar of chocolate. But carob honey has a higher nutritional value than chocolate and contains less than half of its fat, without caffeine.
Grinding the locusts, the carob flour is prepared, a flour with a pleasant, sweet taste that is used to make bread, biscuits, cakes and rusks.
Carob cocoa is made from the carob pods, after being cleaned, baked, dried and ground. Carob pods have a sweet taste and brown color, which is why they are considered a substitute for cocoa and give the feeling of chocolate in the preparations where they are used.
In ancient Greece carob flour was very popular used for bread and sweets, but it also had another use. Locusts have a strange property .Their weight is always the same (0,2 g.) so they were used in scales to weigh valuable metals. The Greek word for locusts was “keration” .We still weigh gold and other metals in carats.