10 Useful Facts About The Carob Tree (Árvore de Alfarrobeiras)

Or should this be “10 useful facts I did not know about the Carob tree”?

Lacking inspiration for this week’s Wordpress Weekly Photo Challenge – theme: “Growth” , I stumbled across this picture of an old Carob tree (Árvore de alfarrobeiras).  I’d taken the picture on our first geo-cache expedition and according to the accompanying blurb about the cache, this tree is over 100 years old! That’s one hell of lot of growth!

Carob Tree - Árvore de Alfarrobeiras
Carob Tree – Árvore de Alfarrobeiras

However, having unearthed the photograph I paused to consider this magnificent tree and the fruit it bore. I often eat alfarrobeiras (carobs) cake (tarte) in Portugal and it’s delicious! Curious to learn more about the carob I set sail on a “Google” voyage of discovery. Where would we be without the internet? I’m sure you know the feeling…

Several hours later my head spinning with facts and figures, and my fore-finger aching with mouse-fatigued I selected ten key facts.

An interesting exercise because I did not realise carobs are considered one of the “Healthy” foods.

10 Useful Facts About The Carob Tree (Árvore de Alfarrobeiras)

1. The Carob tree prefers a dry climate and is native to the Mediterranean.
2. The fruit of carob is called a pod and is edible.
3. The pod not only contains many small beans, but also a semi-sweet pulp.
4. Locust bean gum is made from the pulp of the pods and used as a stabilizer, emulsifier or thickener.
5. Carob pods contain iron, magnesium, calcium, vitamins A, B2, B3, and D plus etc.
6. Carob pods can be ground into flour and used as a cocoa substitute for chocolate flavoring.
7. Carob contain just 1/3rd of the calories of chocolate  so great if you are on a diet.
8. Carob pods are almost fat-free –  another plus.
9. Carob is non-allergenic – great if you are allergic to chocolate.
10. Carob has various other applications including the production of cosmetic facemasks, fodder for livestock and firewood to name a few.

Carob pods
Carob pods

Image courtesy of wikipedia

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51 thoughts on “10 Useful Facts About The Carob Tree (Árvore de Alfarrobeiras)

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  1. Pingback: Karob | ziolove
  2. I use to play all my afternoons in one of this trees. Very old trees that was introduce in Algarve by the Mouros (people from North of Africa)
    We have have very carefull with the ones we have in Quinta do Lago resort


  3. Question: I’m smoking some things…garlic and such. Would carob be a good smoke fuel, almond wood and orange brilliant am searching for old orchards of fruit and/or nut trees. I’m near Tavira if you’ve any thoughts on this, there are lots of carob around here.


  4. Carob: As an old hippy and young mom we always used Carob rather then Chocolate. My 40-year old daughter just shared a memory of her birthday cake that I made with honey and carob and her desperate 6-year old craving for a fancy colored sugar cake, sigh, we were talking over some chocolate eclairs and martinis….how we change with time, eh?


  5. Hi, look for “Farinha de Alfarroba”, big supermarkets like Continente have it on their “diet section”. Because the “fruit” it’s called Alfarroba not Alfarrobeira (this is the name of the tree). The Algarve has more alfarrobeiras than the rest of the country, that’s why they have the cake.


  6. Years ago, I went on a “no chocolate” kick and used carob for awhile. Eventually, I went back to chocolate, but it’s interesting to learn more about carob. I had no idea it had so many uses and benefits from it.


    1. Hi Sally, I think I’m going to try and locate some carob powder here and try to make a cake…I can but try…so watch this space 🙂 I am addicted to chocolate it is like a drug and I’m hooked!


  7. I love carob! Having grown up with a lot of hippy influences it was fairly common in my diet. There was a carob ice cream that I really loved. Interesting facts and cool to see what the tree/pod looks like!


  8. I have eaten carob chocolate, but had no idea about the tree, its fruit or any of its properties. Great facts Carole! Don´t think I have ever tried Carob cake, but I think it must be one of the Algarve´s specialties.


    1. Hi Sami,
      It’s amazing. As I said it only started as some background info for the weekly photo challenge and then I was hooked. Not sure if i’s just an Algarve speciality, I will ask at our local bar where they sell it


  9. Hiya! Thanks for educating me further about the Carob. Having just had my hol on the Algarve and seen the cake on many a dessert menu(!) I knew a little bit about it (ie the cocoa substitute) but didn’t realise it was so healthy! Thanks, Cath.


          1. Yes it’s in between Albufeira and Lagoa more or less. There are carob trees in the Algoz and Silves area (I know this because I used to walk my dog in the countryside there) mostly looking in a run down state as with many of the trees in the Algarve that aren’t used to produce fruit/nuts anymore(!).


            1. It’s a great shame that so many food bearing trees are just left to waste. We went to Monchique and on the way we saw lots of orange and lemon trees and the fruit left to rot on the floor. I was tempted to stop the car and collect some, but thought I’d get into trouble. Did you go to silves Medieaval fayre?


  10. Absolutely love unexpected lessons like this! Saw the heading and thought there was nothing in the memory banks: well, actually pretty pleased when I read thru’ your list 🙂 ! Have been using and enjoying carob for quite awhile without realizing that consuming kind’of meant learning!!


    1. Hi Eha and welcome!
      I was also quite surprised as I had no idea either.
      There was a lot more info ie biblical ref as it is also know as St. John’s bread, but it was only when I’d pressed published I realised I’d not included it 😦


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