One of the treats we share in our Herbal Holiday Gift-Making Workshop is Carob Fudge, a healthy and nutritious delight I learned to make with carob and honey in my traveling days. It requires no cooking and can easily be made by hand in a few minutes. You could also call it locust and wild honey.
A passage in Matthew 3:4 in the Bible concerning John the Baptist translates as:
Now John himself wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey.
John the Baptist’s diet has been the center of much discussion. Although locusts were consumed as food in that part of the world, it was traditional to interpret locusts as the seed pods of the carob tree, not the insects.
Carob consumed by humans is the dried (and sometimes roasted) pod, and not the ‘nuts’ or seeds. The pods contain plant sugars – Sucrose, Fructose and Glucose making them mildly sweet and are used as an ingredient in cakes and cookies, and as a chocolate substitute. They are significantly lower in fat than chocolate. And whereas chocolate contains theobromine, which is poisonous to some mammals, carob does not, and is used to make chocolate-flavored treats for dogs.
Carob is also a good source of Omega 3 and Omega 6 essential fatty acids, Vegetable Protein, Calcium, Iron, Potassium, Magnesium, Copper and Manganese, B Vitamins, including thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and B6. It is an excellent source of Dietary Fiber.
Carob as Medicine
Carob tannins contain Gallic acid that works as an analgesic, anti-allergic, antibacterial, antioxidant, antiviral and antiseptic.
Carob improves digestion and lowers cholesterol levels in the blood. Carob naturally contains polyphenols, which help with blood cholesterol levels in a way similar to dietary fiber. A 2010 issue of “Plant Foods for Human Nutrition” reported on a human study that found a 4-gram serving of polyphenol-rich fiber twice a day led to a decreased level of cholesterol and triglycerides after a period of just four weeks.
Carob is used for treating diarrhea in children and adults.
The word carat came from Italian carato, meaning carob seed or bean. As ancient traders traveled around the Mediterranean and surrounding areas, they turned to the carob bean as a unit of measurement. A gemstone would be put onto a balance scale… the other side would have carob seeds/beans on it. A stone that balanced out evenly against 5 seeds was said to weigh 5 seeds – then 5 carobs – then 5 carats. The Roman gold coin weighed 24 carats, hence 24 carat gold defining pure gold.
Carob Fudge Recipe
blend together equal parts honey and butter
mix in carob powder to taste
thicken with non-fat non-instant milk powder
knead in nuts, raisons, seeds, etc.
form into desired sized pieces
consume with delight
Ceratonia siliqua, commonly known as the carob tree, St John’s-bread, or locust bean is a species of flowering evergreen shrub or tree in the pea family, Fabaceae. Widely cultivated for its edible pods, it grows well in warm temperate coastal areas such as Ocean Beach where Self-Heal-School is located.