Carob, plant and fruit: all the information on carob and fruit, carob to eat raw or ground into flour. Properties of carobs and botanical notes.
Thecarobis a long-lived tree and very resistant to drought. It thrives well in the mild climate of the South and in other areas of Italy it can be grown as an ornamental sapling.
Thecarobis popular for hispod with multiple beneficial properties.
Carob, characteristics of the plant
Themeaningof the namecarobcomes from the Arabic Kharrub, evidence of the origin of the plant: the carob tree was brought to Sicily by the Phoenicians (11th - 12th century BC). It is therefore a very ancient species.
Thecarobit is a tree that, when ripe, can have an imposing crown and a very large trunk. It is capable of reaching 10 meters in height. The plant grows very slowly and is very long-lived: it can live for hundreds of years.
It is a dioecious tree, i.e. the male flowers and the female flowers are carried on different plants. In rare cases it is possible to observe acarobwhich bears both flowers on the same plant (hermaphrodite). Pollination occurs thanks to insects and the wind.
Since it is a predominantly dioecious tree, for the cultivationand the production ofcarob(the fruits) thefertilization.For the fertilization it is necessary to cultivate two carob trees: for the fertilization of the female flowers it is necessary the presence of pollen from the male flowers. Who wants to remedy the presence of two plants, will have to look for a hermaphrodite tree.
How to recognize a "male" carob from a "female" one? The male flowers have a tubular shape and end with an enlargement. On the contrary, the female flowers each have five erect filaments that end in a sort of flattened cylinder, divided in half by a longitudinal septum.
Carob, the fruits of the carob
The fruits of this plant are usually calledcarob. They have an unmistakable shape: they appear as elongated pods, capable of reaching and exceeding 20 cm.
The fruits, when ripe, are dark brown in color. They have a rough and hard surface, with a fleshy interior and sweet to the taste.
Thecarob they ripen between August and September of the year following flowering. They contain many hard, round and crushed seeds. The seeds are also dark brown in color.
The seeds ofcarobare saidcarat. As stated, thecarobit is an ancient tree. Carob seeds have a fairly homogeneous size and weight and in the past they were used as a unit of measurement for weighing gold and precious materials.
Who wantscultivate the carobforproperties of its fruit, must have a lot of patience: up to ten years of age the plant is not productive! The plant begins to bear fruit after the first 10 years and reaches the peak of production around the age of 40. The carob continues to produce fruit up to 100 years of age.
At maturity, the production ofcarobcan be very generous: each plant can produce more than 100 kg of carob!
Thecarobthey are very nutritious: rich in carbohydrates and vegetable fibers. They contain a non-negligible percentage of proteins. Among the most abundant micronutrients we point out the presence of various mineral salts and vitamins, especially those of group B, vitamin C and vitamin E.
How to eat carobs
The pod is edible, is very sweet and has a distinctive aroma. Thecarob they can be eaten raw when they are well dried. How to eat carobs? Just put them between your teeth and chew!
Pay attention, while chewing, to the seeds. The seeds present in the pods can be very hard and cause problems with the teeth. The carobs, therefore, can be eaten raw like any other fruit. It is not necessary to peel them!
The pulp of the carob can be chopped and reduced to flour. Carob pulp flour can be very useful in cooking, even as a substitute for cocoa for its sweet taste. How to make carob flour? If you have the raw material, you can make flour as you would any other cereal. Detailed instructions can be found in the guide:how to make flour at home.
The more or less coarsely chopped carobs are used to feed livestock.
Not just the pulp. Carob seeds are also reduced to flour (after roasting). Carob seed flour is used as a thickener, stabilizer and emulsifier. Carob seed flour has an absorbing power equal to 50 times its own weight.