This web page is part of a web site that is no longer actively maintained
by anybody at ANU SRES. It has been left on the web due to its apparent
popularity (every time we've removed it, people have complained within 24
hours), but is presented AS IS - attempting to contact any individual
named on the page is likely to fail, and the SRES webmaster doesn't want
to hear about such failures or entertain any communication about updating of
the page's contents. You have been warned.
Products and Uses
The Carob Tree
Botanical Name: Ceratonia siliqua
Common Names: Carob, St John's Bread,
Locust, Locust Bean, Black Gold
Carob is a species that has a long
of use by humans. Other names commonly used for
Carob are St John's Bread and Locust. Legend has it that St John ate the
pods of this species and hence the name. Evidence of the use of Carob products
by humans date back to ancient Greece and Egypt where the plant was used
as a source of food. The seeds from the Carob tree are extremely consistant
in size and weight and are believed to have been the original guage for
the 'carat' used by jewellers. The
species itself is ancient having survived the last ice age and flourished
throughout the Mediterranean region since. It is well adapted to harsh
climates and poor soils. Throughout its natural range the species has been
widely cultivated because of its reliability as a food and fuel resource
even during times of drought.
The carob tree is a slow growing, medium sized evergreen
tree originating in the eastern Mediterranean. It is a member of the Legume
(Pea) family and is the only member of the genus Ceratonia. It is a xerophilous
scleophphyllous species well suited to dry infertile environments. The
species is trioecious with male, female and hermaphrodite inflorescences
and is often multi stemmed growing up to 15 meters in height. The production
of fruit begins around the age of 15 and continues for the life of the
plant. The leaves are broad, dark green and offering substantial shade.
The pods are long and leathery often growing up to 300mm long.
Carod is a highly versitile and useful
tree to humans as there are a wide range of products derived from its fruits
and timber. Primarilly, foods for both human and animal consumption are
obtained from it's seeds, pulp and seed pods. Every part of the fruit is
able to be consumed. However food is not the only product supplied by this
Carob in Food
The fruits of the Carob tree can be
eaten either green or after having been processed. The Inside the seed
pod there are up to 15 seeds surrounded by a saccharine pulp. The seeds
are seperated from the pulp and used to make locust
bean gum sometomes known as Ceratonia or Carob
bean gum. This product is used in the manufacture of food stuffs, especially
confectionary. It be used as a stabiliser, emulsifer, thickener or to to
prevent sugar crystallisation. The other major food source derivrd from
Carob is from the ground up pod itself, which forms a high protein powder
that is an effective substitute for Cocoa powder. Carob powder has a number
of advantages over Cocoa powder and as such is often used to make what
has come to be known as 'healthy
chocolate'. Carob powder is free of the allergetic
and addictive effects of caffeine and theobromine present in Cocoa. It
also contains less fat and more sugar than Cocoa. Cocoa has around 23%
fat and 5% sugar while Carob contains apporoximately 7% fat and 42-48%
sugar. Carob powder is often used as a substitute for cocoa at rates of
up to 50%. Used in this manner Carob has become a popular chocolate substitute
used in a huge variety of confectionery products and drinks as well as
a general sweetener. Carob is also used to make flour, molasses, alcohol
and a substitute for coffee and eggs.
Carob and Health
Apart from the health benefits obtained
by subsituting Carob for Cocoa and synthetic sweeteners in our diet, Carob
also has excellent nutritional value. Along with up to 80% protien, it
contains Magnesium, Calcium, Iron, Phosphorus, Potassium Manganese, Barium,
Copper, Nickel and the vitamins A, B, B2, B3, and D. It also has medicinal
uses including the treatment of coughs and diarrhoea.
While food production is a very important
characteristic of this species it is by no means the only benefit that
can be obtained from growing Carob. These include:
is obtained from the bark of Carob.
face-packs are made from a flour made from the seed pods.
wood is hard and highly sought after by wood turners.
wood is also used for fire wood
shade and shelter and fodder for stock.
is a nitrogen fixing species, providing improvements to soil fertility.
well on low rainfall marginal land and is used for land amelioration.
Prior to planting Carob, pre-soak the
seed in warm water for approximately 24hrs. This species prefers sandy
loams, medium loam and clay loam soils but can tolerate poorer soil conditions
including rocky areas. Good drainage and full to semi-sun is also prefered
if the species is to grow well. Carob will tolerate pH in the range 6.2
to 8.6. This species is extremely drought resistant and irrigation is not
required. It is also free of many pests and diseases, however it is susceptible
to Texas Root Rot. After the plant has established itself it requires little
maintenance except form pruning to encourage a single stem if required.
| The Carob Tree | Carob
Products | Carob in Food |
| Carob and Health
| Other Products and Uses | Growing
products] [ANU Forestry]
Copyright 1998 The Australian National University
Author: Mark Garner
Comments and Feedback mail to:P.Beutel@anu.edu.au
Date last modified: 1.11.98