Once an important source of sugar before cane sugar became widely available, carob pods are now a chocolate replacement and ingredient in cakes, cookies and drinks, including tea. Carob is high in fiber, calcium and anti-oxidants, is gluten- and- caffeine free, and can sooth stomach ailments, among others. To make carob tea, just boil 2 tsp of carob shell in water for about 5 minutes…and eat the remaining soft pieces later. Store in a dry, dark cupboard.
A Bit of History
Carob pods have been used throughout the ancient Mid-East and Mediterranean for thousands of years. The trees are common throughout Israel, valued for the pod as well as the shade they produce. In some cultures carob is eaten during Lent and Good Friday and on the Jewish holiday Tu Bishvat. According to scholars, the “locusts” which nourished St. John the Baptist as he preached in the desert wilderness, were actually carob beans, hence, carob is also called “St. John’s Bread.” They are also mentioned as food for swine (Luke 15:16). Today, it is a common replacement for chocolate and a tasty tea.