Friday, February 3, 2012

What in the world is....Carob?

Remember carob? It's one of those foods I had tried when I was a kid (my brother had a lot of allergies as a child and my mom would bring me along to the old-fashioned hippy healthfood store...perhaps that's back when I become interested in all this stuff? :) As a kid, I really didn't care for it, feeling fooled that it looked like chocolate and wanting it to taste like chocolate. However, the other day I picked up a trail mix that had an assortment of nuts and dried fruits in it, as well as carob chips. I was pleasantly surprised how much I liked it and my kids did as well. So what is it, anyway?

Carob is a tropical pod that contains a sweet, edible pulp and inedible seeds. After drying, the pulp is roasted and ground into a powder that resembles cocoa powder, but does not have the same flavor and texture of chocolate.

Carob is very nutritious. Carob contains as much Vitamin B1 as asparagus or strawberries; as much niacin as lima beans, lentils, or peas; and more Vitamin A than eggplant, asparagus, and beets. It also contains Vitamin B2, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and the trace minerals iron, manganese, chromium, copper, and nickel. It contains approximately 8 percent protein and is a good source of fiber. Compared to chocolate, carob is three times richer in calcium, has one third less calories and seventeen times less fat.
Carob also has therapeutic uses. It is known to halt serious cases of diarrhea in adults, infants, and animals. Use 1 tablespoon of carob power in a cup of liquid, or make a paste of carob powder and water. It is also known to help with nausea, vomiting, and upset stomach.
One tablespoon of unsweetened carob powder has 25 calories, no fat, no saturated fat, no cholesterol, and 6 grams carbohydrate. By comparison, one tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder contains 12 calories, 1 gram of fat, no saturated fat, no cholesterol, and 3 grams of carbohydrate.


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