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Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Photo by: Diane 2006
 L. Catania siliqua, Ar. al jarröda, Fr. caroubier commun, Eng. carob, carob bean, carob tree, St.John’s bread. It is known that this tree is a native the eastern Mediterranean. It is claimed to be Moroccan, but also it could be a native of Spain, as it has grown on the peninsula from time immemorial. It is common on the coast in the provinces of Alicante, Valencia, Tarragona, Barcelona and Gerona. The bark is an astringent. The tree bears red flowers followed by flat leathery horn shaped pods, 3-12” long containing hard brown seeds embedded in sweet edible pulp. The seeds, equal in size, were used as weights from which "carat" is derived. This fruit is consumed for its laxative effect. Dioscorides recommended it for this. Actually, the seeds produce an abundance of mucilage, a gum used as a laxative in pharmaceutical preparations and as an adhesive. It is mentioned in Matthew 3:4 and Mark 1:6 of the Bible, which relates that John the Baptist subsisted on the pods while in the wilderness (therefore the flour is called “St .John’s bread”). Carob trees were growing on the banks of the Jordan River. Christians traditionally make the bread on June 24th, the saint's birthday. Muslims drink the juice from the fruit during Ramadan and Jews eat the fruit on Tu Bishval, the New Year for Trees. In the Middle Ages it came to be synonymous with protection and health. Formerly, it was laid out in lines to catch birds. Today it is a substitute for chocolate. See yero. [ES: Herbs. Oct 8, 02; and Gázquez. Cocina. 2002:248]

Carob Cake Mini Muffins 
Photo by: Ciao Hound



3 eggs
1  banana, mashed
½ c. butter, softened
1 ¼  c. milk
2 tsp. vanilla
1 ½  c. flour
¾  c. carob powder
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 c. chopped walnuts


Preheat oven to 250º F

Beat eggs until very foamy. Add mashed banana, soft butter and milk. Continue beating until creamy. Add vanilla, flour, carob powder, baking powder and baking soda. Beat well. Stir in walnuts

Spread batter evenly in a greased and floured 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean. Cool.


  1. He oído decir que en época de hambre en España(guerra y posguerra por ejemplo) la gente comía algarrobas. También me suena que Pizarro y algún otro conquistador, cuando estaban en Extremadura muertos de hambre, las comían (y bellotas, con las que por cierto también se hacía una harina). Otra cosa que se comía era la harina de ALMORTAS, como vas por la A seguramente saldrá.

  2. During famines in Spain (war and post-wars for example) people ate carob beans. Also I think Pizarro and some other conquistador, while living in Estremadura (Spain) dying of hunger, ate them (and acorns which they made into flour). Also they ate vetch which will be posted soon.

  3. History is man scratching the earth to survive. Sadly, carob beans, acorns, vetch and almost anything produced by the earth has been used for survival.

  4. Sadly... or fortunately (let's think there should have not been even these things!). Man can also learn from the past to recycle some forgotten vegetables and animals, not just for snobism but for their nutritional potential. At Madrid there is actually an insect cooking festival. Though personally I prefer carob and acorns...

  5. Carob is no the easiest thing to find on the market. Also, some people are grossed out with it. Either was a common substitute is bitter chocolate powder.