Steve Maxwell was on Joe Rogan’s podcast recently and one of the things he mentioned was carob. He talked about how he would buy carob bars, but also that he found carob on the ground and ate it. That’s all well and good, if not a bit strange, but what exactly is carob?
Carob is a member of the pea family and if you look over to the right, you’ll see a picture of carob pods. They looks a lot like dried out, brown pea pod would. But we don’t serve carob at Thanksgiving dinners as a side dish like we would peas. In fact, carob is linked to chocolate in many ways, usually with health food nuts who use it as a substitute for chocolate.
But carob is not chocolate, it doesn’t have the texture of chocolate, and it doesn’t taste quite like chocolate either. I think the reason that carob is linked with chocolate is because when it’s processed into a powder, it resembles cocoa very much.
Powdered carob is created when the pod is dried out, the inedible seeds are scooped out, and then the pulp inside the carob pod is roasted and ground up.
So why is carob and cocoa linked to each other? Well, both come from tropical pods. Both are sweet, though in different ways. Both also have their pros and cons in terms of health benefits. People like that chocolate has caffeine to give them a boost, but carob contains no caffeine. Both do not contain cholesterol or saturated fat, but cocoa contains fat while carob does not, and cocoa also has less protein.
Carob can be used as a substitute for cocoa as both are sweet powders. Though you’ll want to double the amount of carob you use in a smoothie, for instance, as the flavor isn’t as strong as cocoa.
Give it a try in your next smoothie!