The carob tree and its fruits: the history and uses of a thousand-year old plant
We present you one of the oldest trees in the Mediterranean basin
Our cherished carob trees love to sit in the sun, enjoy the breeze from the nearby coastal areas, the mild climate even in winter, surrounded by a rich and spontaneous vegetation, just as their “old” predecessors, whose origins are remote and still debated. We have evidence of their presence in naturalist authors such as Columella or Pliny the Elder, who defines the carobs, a fruit, “[…] not so much different from chestnuts […], except that in these fruits one can still eat the bark. They are as long as the fingers of men […] » (Historia Naturalis). But also the Gospels of Matthew and Mark speak of these fruits when they describe the “meal” of John the Baptist in the desert.
Some scholars think that these majestic trees were introduced in Italy by the Greeks or the Phoenicians and that they were spread in the Middle Ages thanks to the Arabs, who grow them and consume their fruits for food and medicinal uses. Here we have all the environmental elements favourable to their growth. The Arabs named this tree, and its name comes from the word “kharrub“.
There are many legends that accompany the long, long history of the carob tree. The best known is the one that tells of the presence of treasures hidden under the carob tree, and the more impressive was its trunk the more precious was the treasure hidden under it.
This may or may not be an invention, but we now know that the real treasure is in its fleshy fruits.
Carob seeds and pulp, a precious heritage for our diet
Today like yesterday, our thousand-year old friend, the carob tree, long-lived and evergreen, grows up only to 12meters tall but its crown is broad and dense. The carob tree doesn’t like to show off its majestic beauty as opposed to its territorial friend, the olive tree. Its flowers, in fact, aren’t so eye-catching and its sweet fruit, the carob, melts into the branches because of the colour. However, it likes to be admired because it knows i’s offering precious gifts to our diet.
The carob pod is an healthy alternative to the chocolate, it is cholesterol free, it is edible and can be used in different ways: you can use the pulp and the seeds to make many healthy and natural products, providing rich nutritional benefits.
It is the most valuable treasure, isn’t it?