The mystery seed pods from last week have a wonderful odor.
In fact they smell sweet and faintly reminiscent of chocolate.
These pods are from a carob tree, Ceratonia siliqua, which is grown as a landscape tree here in Phoenix.
The carob trees were originally from the eastern Mediterranean region. They grow well in areas with little rainfall.
Each leaf is made up of 6 to 8 rounded leaflets.
The tree retains its leaves and is green all year.
The pods start out green and then turn brown as they ripen. The hard seeds are inside.
To make carob powder, a chocolate substitute, separate the seeds from the pods. Roast and grind up the pods. Here in Phoenix, people harvest and mill both carob and mesquite pods. You can then use the carob powder to make brownies.
The carob seeds are used to make carob or locust bean gum, a thickener.
What an interesting plant!
Do you have a favorite carob recipe?