Carob: unsightly legume with golden value

Carob is used in the human diet for over 4000 years. Most likely it was food from Biblical times. It is believed that it fed John the Baptist, and hence comes the German name for the carob - Johannisbrot, which means John's bread.

Carob: unsightly legume with golden valueCarob (Ceratonia siliqua L.) is native tree or shrub of the family (Leguminosae), which grows among the maquis, olive groves, the woods and rocky places. Wood is a broad canopy and up to 15 m high, and the fruit is 20 cm long pods, green maturing exceeds that in dark brown. Pods ripen in late summer. Ripe pods is sweet taste. Endosperm of mature pods is processed into flour locust. Carob grows in coastal areas of the Mediterranean zone in Croatia, Turkey, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Italy. Solta Island is famous for Rogač where there is a place called Carob.


History of carob

Carob is used in the human diet for over 4000 years. Most likely it was carob food from Biblical times. It is believed that it fed John the Baptist, and hence comes the German name for the carob - Johannisbrot, which means John's bread. In ancient times, carob seeds were used as the unit of measure for weighing gold. Carob seeds, regardless of size and storage requirements, always have an equal weight of 0.18 grams. One seed = 1 carat (carob bean, Gk. = Keration). The term is used today for 0.18 oz. of gold.

Locust are the fruit used for therapeutic purposes, even the ancient Egyptians. They used the adhesive properties of carob in mummification, and in the tombs were found and the pods and seeds. Ancient Greeks and Romans were used as medicine immature fruits. The notes to the Greeks Theophratusa, carob is mentioned as "sycamore", while the Romans ate green beans and fresh because of their natural sweetness.

An interesting finding was the effect of carob antidijaroičkog in pediatric practice. Spanish doctor Ramos noted the 1941 that in Spain children who are hungry are fed carob had less digestive problems than other children. This prompted him to introduce the practice of pediatric cases of diarrhea in carob, enteritis, and dyspepsia.


The composition of carob pulp

Carob fruit contains 13% simple sugars (fructose, maltose and glucose), 20% sucrose, 2-3% pectin, 4% protein, 3% mucilage polysaccharides and 35% starch. Since minerals containing 36% calcium, 24% potassium, 29% copper, and most of the vitamin is riboflavin (28%). Carob is low in fat, contains no caffeine and theobromine, and rarely acts as an allergen.

Carob pulp has a high proportion of phenolic compounds of which the most significant tannins (16-20%). Phenolic compounds, among which are the tannins, antioxidant effect (prevention of oxidation reactions by inhibiting free radicals) and therefore have a favorable impact on human health. Studies in healthy volunteers have confirmed the effect of polyphenols and netopljvih carob fiber on lowering blood lipid levels. Consuming 15 g of carob per day for 4 weeks decreased the total of 7.1% cholesterol and 10.6% of LDL cholesterol (low density cholesterol or "bad" cholesterol).

Share of phenolic compounds in fruit and carob vary depending on the climate, carob varieties, stage of fruit maturity and processing method. Thus, the observed differences in the amount of phenolic compounds with carob Sicily, Crete and Anatolia (Turkey).



Locust flour, the contents of tannin, pectin and lignin, acting on the prevention and mitigation of nausea and diarrhea. Carob tannins astringent effect on the intestinal mucosa, and bacterial toxins bind and inactivate coli bacterium, which reduces swelling and inflammation of the lining. Astringent action has a reaction precipitation of proteins by tannins and create a protective layer on the mucosa. Mucus lining the mucosa and thus reduce the irritation in the intestines. Establishing a formed stool was recorded 2 days after initiation of therapy carob, while therapy until complete recovery takes an average of 6-8 days.



They are used dried, ripe fruit of carob from which the three main commercial products: carob extract from dried fruit (fried or roasted), FLOUR carob pulp from whole fruit and caruba tires from the endosperm of seeds. Water-soluble extract obtained from the seeds is called karubin ² ². On the German market and find the name for the carob karobe ² ², which originates from the Arabic word al-kharob.



It is believed that carob is safe and a good remedy for diarrhea in infants and young children. Except for diarrhea and used in enteritis, dyspepsia, and in adults for the treatment of gastritis and gastroenteritis.



In prehambenoj industry is used as a thickener, stabilizer, and a substitute for cocoa, and Medical Dietetics as a low calorie food. Carob extract is used as a flavoring in the manufacture of a wide range of products (alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, frozen dairy products, candies, baked goods, puddings, meat products, mixtures of spices, fruit products, etc). To be added to soups, sauces for salads, ice cream and canned meat.

The household is often used as a substitute for cocoa and coffee. Of finely ground flour can make a delicious and healthy hot drinks or who can provide a variety of delicious flavor puddings and cakes.

In health food stores can be found a variety of "chocolate", spreads, and puddings of carob. In addition, mature carob can be eaten as a sweet snack. In the not too distant past, the singers are chewed fruit of carob, because it was thought that cleanses your throat and voice.


Tasty and healthy alternative to chocolate

The natural sweetness of carob allows him to perfectly replace the cocoa and cocoa can write.

Carob has a slightly different flavor of chocolate, but its composition is much more acceptable foods for people with diabetes, migraine, anxiety, nervousness, etc. Naturally sweet, so sweet in the preparation of carob need to add less sugar than when working sweets of cocoa. Carob is low in fat, rich in pectin and rarely acts as an allergen. Caloric value is for 2/3 smaller than the chocolate.

Carob, unlike chocolate contains phenylethylamine, oxalic acid and stimulants. Phenylethylamine may have an adverse impact on the development of migraines, high blood pressure and increase blood glucose levels. Oxalic acid interferes with the absorption of calcium and zinc, minerals that are important for healthy bones and skin. Theobromine and caffeine, stimulants present in chocolate, can cause allergic reactions.


Foods with a special purpose

Powdered carob fruits are used in cough preparations, and to stop diarrhea (Rogamil instant powder with a banana, Rogamil electrolyte), but also slimming preparations, "power" tiles, and surrogates of chocolate and coffee.



Carob is a safe and harmless. There have been rare cases of allergic reactions in workers who handle large quantities of carob flour.

Zdravka Lovrić, mag. ing. aliment. techn.