Carob (Ceratonia siliqua)
Carob, or St. John’s Bread, is a long-lived evergreen of the Fabaceae family, related to Butterfly Pea and Lablab Bean. The Middle-East native plant grows a feathery canopy of deep green, leathery leaves atop a trunk of twisted, reddish-brown bark. Because their leaves are slow to burn, many grow Carob as a fire barrier.
Red, single-sex flower clusters develop in autumn, attracting bees and flies with their musky fragrance. To pollinate, the Carob requires a second tree of the opposite sex to produce pods. These pods will mature into glossy brown, tough-fibered pods with seeds that rattle when ripe!
Their main use is culinary. Need a chocolate substitute? Try out Carob’s sweet, bean-like pulp with similar flavor properties to cacao, minus the migraine-inducing theobromine. Eat it out of hand or dry it into a powder!