Carob is often used as a substitute for chocolate for its similar taste, texture and sucrose content. Carob can be eaten if you have a dairy-free diet and is used to make carob bars, carob sandwich spread, carob drops and carob flour. Carob and carob flour both originate from the carob tree. The difference between carob and carob flour is that carob is raw and carob flour is a processed product.
The carob tree or locust bean tree is an evergreen that flourishes in the eastern Mediterranean. The tree can grow up to 32 feet tall and will not usually start producing fruit for 15 years. When the tree does start producing fruit it can yield up to a ton of beans per tree at harvest time. The fruit takes a year to ripen and then the tree will produce dark brown, long flattened pods that are edible. The annual amount harvested from carob trees is much higher than from the cocoa tree where the average yield per tree is only about two pounds.
Carob or locust bean is the raw ingredient that is produced by the carob tree. Carob can be eaten raw as a sweet snack but most of the carob harvest tends to be processed before use. Carob can be processed in different ways, in the Middle East the carob pods are made into a syrup called "dibs." The carob can also be made into locust bean gum which is used as a stabilizer, gelling agent and emulsifier for products like ice cream. A high proportion of raw carob is processed to make carob flour.
Carob flour or carob powder is produced by coarsely grinding carob pods to remove the seeds. The carob pods are then roasted and ground to make the carob flour. The resulting carob flour has a starchy bean-like flavor and looks like cocoa. Carob flour can be mixed with sweeteners to make a cocoa-like powder. It can also be mixed with fats and other ingredients to make other carob products. Carob flour contains a low amount of saturated fat and no cholesterol. It is high in fiber and low in sodium. Carob flour also contains the vitamin niacin and the mineral calcium. It is also lower in calories than cocoa.
Uses & Benefits
Carob flour is used in many products such as carob bars, cakes, sauce, mousse, ice cream and fruit smoothies. Carob used instead of chocolate has several benefits. Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine. These are both stimulants and carob does not contain either. Carob also does not contain the substances in chocolate that can cause migraines. Chocolate is high in fat but carob powder is fat free. Cocoa trees need to be sprayed frequently with pesticides but carob trees do not, therefore the resulting fruit is organic.
What Is Carob?
While it still is something of a niche foodstuff in North America, carob is a familiar feature of its native Middle East...
What Is Carob Powder?
Carob grows in pods on [*Ceratonia siliqua*](http://selectree.calpoly.edu/treedetail.lasso?rid=306), a tree native to countries along the Eastern Mediterranean. Although used as a substitute for...