Carob – often called the “lost treasure of Crete” – is making a strong comeback on the island. It is what foodies and nutritionists today call a “superfood.” On Crete, the carob tree finds a welcoming, abundant home, on arid soils free of fungus and pests.
There’s even a carob-processing plant on Crete: Creta Carob. They are in Argiroupoli – about 60-minutes or so drive from Fodele. The day trip is well worth it, especially to visit Ancient Lappa as Argiroupoli is also known as. But if you cannot make it, Creta Carob has an e-shop and they deliver overseas.
September is carob harvest time on Crete, as Creta Carob lets us know:
In Crete, the carob trees thrive in difficult soils and like arid conditions that are naturally free of fungus and pests. Thus, the uses of chemical sprays are not necessary on Crete Island. The tree grows 15 meters in 50 years. It does not bear fruit for the first 15 years. However, once fruiting, it will yield one ton of beans in one harvest. Carob pods are harvested in the middle of September.
Here are some of the main reasons why carob is a superfood and its health benefits for you.
- Carob is rich in vitamins A, B, B2, B3, and D, as well as in minerals like calcium, zinc, potassium, and phosphorus.
- All of the carob products are gluten-free, high in protein and low in fat.
- Carob products are low in sugar: 2 tablespoons of carob powder have 6 grams of sugar
- The fiber is a rich source of polyphenol antioxidants like gallic acid and flavonoids for reducing oxidative stress
- The ingredient doesn’t contain tyramine and is considered safe to eat for people who get migraines and allergic reactions
Carob is a healthy alternative to cocoa powder that is naturally sweet. So, recipes do not need added sugar or other sweeteners. Carob powder is a safe alternative, but it should not be consumed in large quantities by women who are pregnant. Also, carob powder is a dog-friendly solution for your pet that loves chocolate. For those unfamiliar, chocolate can contain high levels of theobromine, a compound that is toxic to dogs and cats.