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How to Process Carob

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Carob Trees grow all over North America. I was able to forage a shopping bag full for free from the streets in Los Angeles and process about 3 pounds of powder in one weekend. The stuff is fairly easy to process at home, with the proper equipment. It helps to have a dehydrator and a VitaMix or some other kind of high powered blender, but a regular blender and a low temp oven might just do as well.
 
 
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Step 1: Wash and boil

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Clean your pods. They have probably been out in the world collecting all kinds of lovely smog and dust. I scrubbed 'em with some veggie wash. Carob is subject to mold and critters, but the ones I collected seemed pretty clean. I only picked the pods still on the trees, and only if they looked healthy and shiny. 

The pods are kind of hard, and you want to get the seeds out, so unless you are fanatical about keeping your carob raw, boil them for about 20 minutes. 

Step 2: Split pods

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Once boiled, The pods can be slit with a sharp knife, longways to shuck the seeds. You are going to be eating the pods, not the seeds. You can even munch on the pods in this state as a kind of snack. 

Step 3: Deseed

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The seeds are pretty uniform in size and really hard. One can further process these to make an emulsifier for smoothies and ice cream, or use them in bean bags. 

Step 4: Dehydrate

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Once you have all your pods clean and de seeded, grind 'em up. I used a Cuisinart for this step. The pods are full of sugar, and if they are still damp from boiling that sugar can carmelize from the heat of blending. Then you end up with little sticky balls of sawdust, but that is ok, dried out these too will blend into powder. 
You can dry the ground pods in the oven at low temp or in a dehydrator overnight. The dryer the stuff, the smoother your powder. Don't rush this step, it is key!
thepelton3 years ago
You said "the drier the (Carob pieces) the smoother the powder." Like I said, leave it in the dehydrator unplugged, or spread on a framed screen overnight. Unless a hurricane rolls in, they will dry.
thepelton3 years ago
I found when dehydrating mushrooms for long term storage that they would overcook all too easily. The best way to prevent that was to put them in an unplugged dehydrator, and leave them there overnight. I think that carob pods could be treated in a similar fashion to prevent overcooking them.
realman093 years ago
The pods are kind of hard, and you want to get the seeds out, so unless you are fanatical about keeping your carob raw, boil them for about 20 minutes. I think so very usefull for us!
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thepelton3 years ago
Good pictures of true carob (Ceratonia siliqua) can be found at:
www.eol.org
Encylopedia of Life. Enjoy!
aeray3 years ago
(removed by author or community request)
vespavigilante (author)  aeray3 years ago
Good call - I looked up the carob tree on wikipedia and this can give you some help distinguishing. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carob_tree

"Although similar in general appearance to the honey locust, The black locust lacks that tree's characteristic long branched spines on the trunk, instead having the pairs of short thorns at the base of each leaf; the leaflets are also much broader."

If there are thorns on the leaves do not eat! As with any foraging, make absolutely sure what you are collecting is edible.
I noticed that here in Colorado Springs, Colorado USA that the Honey Locust tree (Genus Robinia) is about the first tree to turn yellow in the fall. HL's are short, and have compound leaves, with leaflets running the length of the leaf stem.
aeray thepelton3 years ago
Honey Locust is Gleditsia triacanthos, Black Locust is Robinia pseudoacacia.  Black locust is toxic.

Carob comes from the Carob tree, Ceratonia siliqua.
slickromeo3 years ago
What temperature should the oven be set to in order to dehydrate these? also, for how long should they be left in the oven at that low temp?
vespavigilante (author)  slickromeo3 years ago
I used a dehydrator, but I am guessing you would want it as low as possible with the door open slightly, for about 4-8hours. Maybe overnight, as long as the ground stuff doesn't toast. Let me know how it turns out!
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