The carob is a delicious fruit ideal as a substitute for chocolate, full of nutritional benefits and excellent properties. We also discover how to prepare it with an exquisite recipe.
If you follow a healthy diet, vegetarian or not, it is quite possible that at some point you have found a recipe that has this food as the main ingredient: carob. Basically we could say that it is the fruit of the carob, an aromatic tree that can reach 10 meters in height and scientifically known by the name of Ceratonia siliqua, originally from the Mediterranean Basin and belonging to the Fabaceae family.
It is more specifically a dark brown or white pod that contains inside a gummy pulp with a sweet taste, which surrounds the seeds. Of course, depending on the type of carob we find, its culinary uses will be diverse. Thus, for example, while the white pod is used mainly in the kitchen to obtain flour or as a thickener and gelling agent, the black pod is very popular for its use as a substitute for chocolate with a clear difference, which is that in it actually has a lot less fat compared to cocoa, it does not contain theobromine, and it is tremendously low in sugar.
And how do you get your pods so that they become an excellent alternative to chocolate? Very simple: when the pods are ripe they acquire a characteristic dark brown color. Then its fruits are dried, toasted and pulverized, which gives them that characteristic appearance similar to that of cocoa when it is served in powder. Moreover, depending on the degree of toasting, different shades and flavors can be obtained, in the same way that we can enjoy different cocoas depending on their purity.
With regard to the white pod, locust bean flour is obtained, which, as we briefly indicated in the previous lines, is used in the food industry due to its quality as a thickener or gelling agent. In case of buying a food product that has this flour as an additive, we will identify it under the code E410. The carob flour stands out for being sweet, with hardly any fat and very nutritious.
The wonderful benefits of carob
Incredible content and nutritional contribution
The carob is very rich in essential nutrients, among which we can mention both vitamins and minerals. In addition, it stands out for being very low in fat and for providing an interesting satiating effect that is very useful for weight loss diets. Among its nutritional content we can mention the presence of:
- Vitamins: vitamin D and vitamins of group B, among which the B1, B2 and B3 stand out.
- Minerals and trace elements: such as phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, silicon and calcium.
It also contains other essential nutrients, such as provitamin A and beta-carotene, and a good amount of fiber. In addition, although it does not have fat, it is tremendously energetic, since 50% of its composition is sugars and 10% proteins.
Beneficial for intestinal transit
The carob stands out for its high fiber content, which means that its regular consumption is extremely beneficial for our intestinal transit, since it improves and regulates it.
For this reason it is very useful for those who suffer from constipation, whether occasional or chronic. What’s more, it is very beneficial for the intestinal mucosa by increasing the flora of lactobacilli and acting as a mild laxative. On the other hand, its mucilage content makes it a natural remedy against diarrhea and inflammation of the mucous membranes.
Very rich in natural antioxidants
Natural antioxidants are compounds that help prevent premature aging of our cells, protecting them in addition to the negative action of free radicals.
The carob provides interesting amounts of tannins, a tremendously powerful natural antioxidant.
Useful in weight loss diets
If you follow a slimming diet with the aim of losing weight and you are passionate about chocolate, there is no doubt that you will find an ally in the carob bean. Why? Not only because it has 40% less fat compared to chocolate, but it also provides an interesting satiating effect, which will help you have less appetite.
In addition, it provides a higher amount of calcium compared to milk chocolate.
Great for kids
If your children tend to have a sweet tooth and are passionate about chocolate, it is quite possible that at some point you have thought about what to do so that they do not eat so much candy. In this sense, the carob can be of great help, especially to replace the soluble cocoa drink (so unhealthy and full of sugars).
How to make a carob drink:
The preparation of the carob drink, either as a substitute for chocolate or simply because we like it or want to try it, is very simple. In fact, 3 teaspoons of carob mixed with 2 teaspoons of water equals almost 30 grams of chocolate. Here are the ingredients you need and the steps to follow.
- 3 teaspoons carob powder
- Milk or vegetable drink (almond, rice or oatmeal)
You just have to heat a little milk or your favorite vegetable drink, once hot add the carob powder. If you want, you can add a little more carob to make the color of the drink a little darker. To finish, sweeten if you want with panela or honey.