If you've ever been in the Algarve and paid attention, you've probably seen carob trees in your neighbourhood and carobs fallen on the ground. After this article, you will look these fruits in a different perspective the next time you see them on the ground.
Cheryl Smith, a passionate for cooking that uses local ingredients to produce good, healthy and natural vegetarian food, has explained to The Portugal News what the main health benefits of this abundant fruit in the Algarve are.
In the nineties, in South Africa, she started to attend many live demos at local health outlet and quickly fall in love on a plant based food, raw dishes and healthy eating.
“I learnt about carobs as some of the recipes demoed live included the end product, carob such as the carob flour and carob chunks. The carob chunks were large, irregular chunky bits of carob (looks like chocolate pieces) sold by weight that I have not seen for sale on the Algarve although I have seen carob nibs”, said Cheryl Smith.
Nine Health Benefits
- Carob is a source of B-Complex Vitamins and includes B1, B2 and B3;
- Is high in calcium for healthy bones and teeth;
- Contains Vitamin A for healthy eyesight;
- Is high in antioxidants, which can reduce a lot the risk of many kind of diseases;
- It’s a way of get more fibre in your diet as it is rich in insoluble fibre;
- It’s caffeine-free making it an ideal bedtime drink;
- Carob is gluten-free - “If you wish to make gluten free carob bread use carob flour blended with almond flour”, Cheryl suggests.
- And is lower in sugar and fat than some chocolates making it a great choice if you have diabetes.
- Helps to boost your immune system.
Cooking with carob
If you find all this interesting and you would like to get all these benefits, maybe you’re wondering how you can include it in your diet. Cheryl gives you some hints.
“Carob is perfect at any time of day: first thing in the morning you can serve carob crumpets for breakfast, eat an oat carob biscuit for your mid-morning snack, enjoy carob banana bread for teatime, make a carob bread sandwich with brie, fig jam and celery, make a delicious after dinner carob vegan mousse for dessert or last thing at night enjoy a carob night-time drink that is made with almond milk and cinnamon”.
According to her, carob “is naturally sweet so there’s no need to add sugar or other sweeteners when using it in your favourite recipes, perhaps consider reducing the sugar quantity of the original recipe you adapting.”
In addition, “carob powder can be substituted one-for-one for cocoa powder in recipes but if you want to be on the cautious side try swapping in half first to get a sense of its unique taste. If you want a more intense carob flavour then up your carob quantity”, she said.
Workshop at Figs on the Funcho
To celebrate the end of the carob harvesting season, which takes place every year between July and the end of August, Cheryl promoted a workshop at Figs on the Funcho, where she shared her ideas on how to introduce carob on people’s diet in a delicious way.
For example, she showed the guests “how to make a healthy carob smoothie and adding a handful of my favourite leafy greens, spinach, to the smoothie drink.”
On her property, Figs on the Funcho, Cheryl has carob trees that she has not yet had the chance to harvest because she was away during the harvesting season; however, she hopes to collect her carob pods next year.
If you would like to learn more about cooking with carob, contact Cheryl via email email@example.com for the next Carob Cooking Workshop.