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Carob in Egypte and Its New Uses
Carob grows well in warm temperate and subtropical areas, is well adapted to the ecological conditions of the Mediterranean region. Carob was eaten in Ancient Egypt. It was also a common sweetener and was used in the hieroglyph for "sweet".
Carob juice drinks are traditionally drunk during the Islamic month of Ramadan as it is believed to reduce thirst. On the islands of Malta and Gozo a syrup is made out of carob pods. This is a traditional medicine for coughs and sore throat.
Carob pods were an important source of sugar before sugarcane and sugar beets became widely available.
Carob Modern Uses
- Carob, dried or roasted and having a slightly sweet taste, in powder or chip form, is used as an ingredient in cakes and cookies.
- Carob is sometimes used as a substitute for chocolate
- Carob seeds, also known as locust beans, are used as animal feed. They are also the source of locust bean gum, a thickening agent used in numerous processed foods
- In Egypt, carobs are consumed as a snack. Crushed pods are used to make a refreshing drink
- Compotes and liqueurs are made from carob in Turkey, Malta, Portugal, Spain and Sicily
- Carob has proven effective in relieving diarrhea in infants (Can Med Assoc J 68 (6): 557–61)
- Carob has also been used as a non-toxic alternative to chocolate in dog treats, as the Theobromine in chocolate is toxic to all dogs
Carob chips are an edible product, similar to chocolate chips, made from carob. They are used in baking and in trail mixes, often serving as a substitute for chocolate chips. The color is the same as that of dark chocolate, although the taste is markedly different, with slightly nutty and bitter overtones. Their appearance is nearly identical to a regular chocolate chip. They are made using carob powder, which has the same look, color and texture as baking cocoa.
Carob chips are considered gluten-free. Carob chips are a safe chocolate alternative to use in treats and baked goods for dogs.
Carob powder is used whenever a recipe calls for chocolate or cocoa. To replace carob for cocoa, simply use the same amount of carob. To replace chocolate with carob, use approximately three tablespoons of carob powder for each square of chocolate that the recipe calls for.
Sugar Replacement :
Carob can also be used as a sugar replacement. Carob powder is almost 50% natural sugar and can be used instead of sugar in virtually all bread and pastry products. This includes bread, waffles, cakes, pies, pancakes, cereals (hot or cold), crepes, muffins, etc. Of course, using carob will result in chocolate-brown colored foods and will impart a vaguely chocolate-like flavor. If this is undesirable, you can try mixing various amounts of carob and honey to find the mixture that suits you best.
Another reason to use carob is its unique flavor. It's often referred to as a chocolate substitute, but carob does have its own unique flavor which lends itself well to shakes, malts, carob-nut bars, bread products, and even mixed into baked beans and barbecue sauces. Carob powder is somewhat reminiscent of chocolate; a fresh carob pod however, has a flavor more similar to dates.
Carob is so different nutritionally and chemically from chocolate that people allergic to chocolate can enjoy carob. A 1973 university study clearly indicated that children who were allergic to chocolate could safely consume carob.