The carob tree has been appreciated for its various features throughout the ages. Nowadays, people are starting to rediscover this amazing plant. It is both a wild growing forest tree, and an easy to cultivate fruit tree. Because of this combination, the carob tree lends itself to a wide range of uses, thus making it the perfect tree to solve many of Morocco’s pressing economic and environmental issues.
But what is it that makes this plant so unique? To answer this question, we ought to take a look at the usage of carob across time and space.
Carob is native and widely spread in the arid and semi-arid Mediterranean regions. The fruit is known as locust bean or St. John’s Bread. This term goes back to St. John the Baptist and the notion that the “locusts and wild honey,” described in the Bible, upon which he subsisted while preaching in the desert, were wild carobs.
In ancient Rome, carob seeds were used as a form of measurement due to their stable weight, which led to a standardized method of determining the purity of metals such as gold. This is the reason why we still use the word “carat,” which evolved from the Greek word for carob, “kerátion.” Since one gold coin had the same weight as 24 carob seeds, 24 carats meant that an object was 100% pure gold.
Today, carob is utilized in a variety of food and technical products. It is available, for example, in the form of powder, chips, syrup, extract, or dietary pills. Another product is Locust Bean Gum (LBG), a binder or thickener in numerous food and non-food products. You can find carob in health stores or organic supermarkets as a dietary supplement or as a substitute for chocolate. By using carob instead of chocolate, calories and fat can be reduced significantly. Additionally, carob contains a large amount of calcium – about three times as much as milk. This makes it a great chocolate alternative for vegans, offering them the calcium intake needed for a healthy diet.
Yet another advantage is its high fiber content. Fiber helps us stay full longer after eating, deterring us from eating too much. It helps control blood sugar and has positive effects on cholesterol levels,