Answer: Carob tree (Ceratonia siliqua) is a species native to the Mediterranean region, cultivated for its edible seed pods. Also known as St John's Bread, the flesh of the pods tastes similar to sweetened cocoa, but contains no psychoactive substances and is often used as a hypoallergenic, drug-free substitute. It is most commonly put in cakes, icing, or sometimes, cookies. The seeds themselves, also known as locust bean, are used as animal feed and to extract locust bean gum, a thickening agent.
Carob is not a staple food in the Mediterranean, but provides good sustenance during times when other crops are scarce, and is a traditional feed for livestock.
Carob pods were the most important source of sugar before sugarcane and later sugar beets became widely available. Nowadays, the seeds are processed for the use in cosmetics, curing tobacco, and making paper. Because of their uniform size, the seeds were also used to weigh precious gemstones. The word carat is derived from the carob tree.
Aside from its edible qualities, carob seeds are sometimes used in jewelry and craft projects.
Q&A Library Searching Tips