The carob tree (Ceratonia siliqua) is a species of flowering evergreen shrub or tree in the pea family, Fabaceae, that is native to the Mediterranean region, as well as Iran and the Middle-East, Portugal and probably the Canary Islands. It is cultivated for its edible seed pods. Carobs are also known as St. John's bread because, according to tradition of some Christians, St. John the Baptist subsisted on them in the wilderness.A similar legend exists of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and his son.
Food features:This tree grows up to 10 metres (33 ft) tall. The crown is broad and semi-spherical, supported by a thick trunk with brown rough bark and sturdy branches. Leaves are 10 to 20 centimetres (3.9 to 7.9 in) long, alternate, pinnate, and may or may not have a terminal leaflet. It is frost-tolerant.
Place of origin:The carob genus, Ceratonia, belongs to the Fabaceae (legume) family, and is believed to be an archaic remnant of a part of this family now generally considered extinct. It grows well in warm temperate and subtropical areas, and tolerates hot and humid coastal areas.
Dietotherapy function:Carob, dried or roasted and having a slightly sweet taste, in powder or chip form, is used as an ingredient in cakes and cookies. Carob is sometimes used as a substitute for chocolate.