Carob powder can be used to replace cocoa at levels from 25-50%. While carob performs like cocoa, it differs in sugar and fat content. Cocoa may contain up to 23% fat and 5% sugar, while carob has .7% fat and a natural sugar content of 42-48%.
Carob is a unique substance that has an appearance similar to cocoa. It comes from the Ceratonia siliqua, an evergreen tree native to the Eastern Mediterranean area. This relatively wild tree, which grows up to 50 geet tall, bears fruit at the age of 6 to 8 years with greater abundance of fruit every other year. The average annual yield per tree is 200-250 pounds of fruit.
Carob, or St. John's Bread, as it is commonly known, is a large (4-12 inch long) dried, bean-like pod. Pods are harvested from September to November. Inside the carob pods are tiny beans which are used to make locust bean gum, a stabilizer and thickener in foods. The carob pods themselves are roasted and ground into carob powder.
Nutritionally, carob has none of the alergy-producing antibodies or the caffeine stimulant theobromine found in the cocoa bean. Carob contains as much vitamin B1 as asparagus or strawberries, the same amount of niacin as lima beans, lentils or peas, and more vitamin A than eggplant, asparagus and beets. It is also high in vitamin B2, calcium, magnesium and iron.
In addition to use as a delicious and healthful foodstuff, carob powder is used as a tobacco flavoring and in the production of some pharmaceuticals.