Ceratania siliqua, Leguminosae-Caesalpinioideae
The fruit of the carob tree, which likely originated in Syria. The food industry uses carob a great deal as a cocoa substitute and food additive, for its stabilizing, binding and gelling properties. Carob is also used as a coffee substitute and as animal feed.
The carob tree provides two quite distinct products, namely carob powder, similar to cocoa, which is obtained from the pods, and carob gum, which is obtained from the carob beans in the pod.
Unlike cocoa, carob doesn't contain theobromine, a stimulant similar to caffeine. Carob is very sweet so it is not necessary to add sugar when using it in place of cocoa. The flavor of carob is enhanced, however, by adding cinnamon or mint.
Carob is generally bought in natural food stores. It is sold in solid (powder, chips) or liquid (syrup) form.
|fiber||3.7g||per 5 tbsp/75 ml|
Carob powder contains much less protein and fat than cocoa. It is much lower in phosphorus, potassium and iron, but it is twice as high in calcium.
Carob powder is a rich source of fiber. It contains tannins. It is not allergenic and is easily digested.
The nutritional value of carob-based products depends on the ingredients they are made of, since sugar and vegetable oil, in particular, are often incorporated.
At room temperature: keep carob in an airtight container away from moisture.
Carob is used in the same way as cocoa and chocolate. It is used especially in cakes, cookies, drinks and sweets. It is used as is or combined with cocoa or chocolate. For each part cocoa, one can substitute 1-1/2 to 2 parts carob by weight in most recipes. It is best, however, to add strong-tasting ingredients to enhance its flavor. When carob powder is used in place of cocoa, reduce the quantity of sugar in the recipe by about one-quarter. Carob is less soluble than cocoa. Blending the carob with hot water first allows it to dissolve better. Carob melts at a lower temperature than chocolate and becomes liquid more quickly, which can be a problem when making mousses, for example.
This page created October 2009
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