Are you familiar with the unique plant, carob? It is mostly grown in Mediterranian regions. You know I used to live in Tarsus, a city of Mersin, which locates in Mediterranian region of Turkey. I remember the first time I met with carob as a child when I visited my grandparents. There was a big carob tree at the square of the village where my granparents lived. I couldn’t believe that it was a fruit. It was as tough as a stone when I touched. And I wasn’t sure how to eat it. Then I saw some children from that village picking up carobs and eating it just like crisp biscuits. I took the first bite, it was so crusty, so it wasn’t so easy to eat it. But it was so sweet that I couldn’t help eating more. Children in that village would eat carob as a substitution for chocolate. Sounds more healthy, doesn’t it?
We call it Keciboynuzu in Turkish. This is a compound word; Keci means goat and boynuz means horn. When we combine these words it means the horn of goat. This name is given to this fruit most probably because of its shape and hardness. It is also called Harnup in some regions.
As time passes, I’ve learnt that carob is a priceless fruit with its so many benefits. It is said that it contains more calcium than milk, so the women who hate milk could eat carob or drink its tea for their bone health. I learnt this tea from dad during their last visit. One day, he came with a bag of carobs and immediately entered the kitchen to make its tea. It was unbelievably great! We all drank it, but he said that he made this tea especially fro me and mom. You know women need more calcium than men.
While making this tea, he told that the seeds of carobs were used to measure the weights of things in ancient times. What is so special about its seeds is that their weigh doesn’t change in any conditions. With their constant weight, seeds were the only reliable thing to scale things.
When I made a quick search on it, I learnt that it is not only used in food industry but also in textile and paper industry. It includes a substance, which is so important for many produced foods. That substance is gum. This carob gum gives the right consistency to foods like yogurt, cheese (especially cream cheese), ice cream, ketchup, sauces, tomato paste, mayonnaise, pastries, etc. That’s why so many producers may use carob gum for these products. Have you ever thought that all these products indirectly contain carob?
I loved the tea dad made that day, it was so refreshing besides its healthy benefits. So I thought it’s worth sharing with you, if you have the chance of finding carob, you may try it. We drink it cold, but it’s also possible to drink it hot. It doesn’t have a specail recipe. Just wash them well, cut into pieces and wait them in hot water for about an hour or more.
Dad prepared it cold and it was fascinating to see how it changes the color of the water gradually. It also spreads its sweetness into water, so we don’t need to add sugar to make it sweet.
If you want to drink it cold, serve it with some ice in it. Do not forget to put one piece of carob in the glass while serving, it’s so soft now that you can esily eat it.
If you prefer it hot, then boil it for about 15 minutes.