Carob powder is made from the bean shaped pods that grow on the carob tree which originates in the Eastern Mediterranean where it has been grown for 4,000 years. The pods are sometimes used to make syrup that is used in foods. But more commonly, they are used to make carob powder, which is often utilized as a chocolate substitute in baking and making candy. It has a sweeter, milder flavor, which is not as bitter as chocolate. While it has a similar appearance to cacao powder, made from the beans of the cacao plant, it has a milder, sweeter taste and offers a significantly different nutritional profile.
The unit “carat“, used for weighing precious metal and stones, as alluding to an ancient practice of weighing gold and gemstones against the seeds of the carob tree by people in the Middle East. The system was eventually standardized, and one carat was fixed at 0.2 grams.
Health Benefits of Carob
Carob has been used as a remedy for digestive distress (especially diarrhea) throughout history. Also it’s rich in a number of nutrients and antioxidants, and may help lower cholesterol levels. Eating carob powder can help to reduce the levels of bad cholesterol in your body. The powder contains polyphenols, which bind to cholesterol in the stomach and help it pass through your system. Polyphenol compounds also act as antioxidants, scavenging free radicals and inhibiting lipid peroxidation in the body. Carob is naturally high in calcium, an essential mineral. In addition to keeping your bones healthy and strong. Calcium is crucial to blood clotting, transmitting information along your nerves and maintaining a regular heartbeat.
While cacao is loaded with alkaloids, which can over-stimulate the central nervous system. Carob doesn’t contain any caffeine. The tannins, a dietary compound found in plants, are likely what makes carob effective in treating diarrhea and other digestive issues. Unlike most plants, the tannins in carob don’t dissolve in water and can help prevent harmful bacterial growth in the intestines. Just one tablespoon of carob powder contains 10% of your recommended daily fiber. Carob is also a smart choice for children. Because it’s not a stimulate and can also be enjoyed by nursing mothers since cacao can aggravate babies tummies who are still nursing.
Substitute for Cacao
It tastes similar to chocolate with caramel notes. The real raw cacao powder that dark chocolate is made with costs much more than organic carob powder. If you are a chocolate snob this might not entice you. But if you want a nutritious chocolate-like fix that tastes similar and has no caffeine. Unlike chocolate, which contains theobromine and caffeine, carob powder contains no stimulants at all. This means that carob powder won’t cause the jittery feeling and the sleepless nights that eating too much chocolate can cause. While unsweetened carob powder may be naturally sweeter than cocoa powder, carob is not as flavorful as chocolate. To substitute carob powder for cocoa powder, replace one part cocoa with 2-1/2 parts carob powder by weight. Carob chips can easily be substituted for chocolate chips in recipes.
Add Carob to Your Daily Routine
Add one tablespoon carob powder to any baked good to get a dark “pumpernickel” color and flavor. Swap carob one for one in any recipe calling for cocoa powder. Carob is a bit sweeter than cocoa, so you may want to reduce any sweeteners in the recipe by just a bit and know the flavor will be different. You can also just sub half the cacao and still retain some of the chocolate taste.