Make Naturally Sweet Carob or Honey Locust Powder from Foraged Pods

| 8/4/2020 9:56:00 AM

Chances are that you’ve got a carob or a honey locust (depending on your location) tree near you. The pods from these trees can be turned into naturally sweet powders that are healthy, tasty, versatile ingredients to have on hand. Making them isn’t complicated, so long as you remember that it is not the beans (seeds) that you eat, but the pods surrounding those seeds.

Carob (Ceratonia siliqua) grows in warmish climates that match its origins around the Mediterranean and in the Middle East. In the U.S., look for it in California and the Southwest.

Honey locust (Gleditsia triacanthos) and thornless honey locust (G. triacanthos var. inermis) are in the legume family (Fabaceae), just like carob. But honey locust is considerably more cold- hardy than carob. It has been widely planted around the northern hemisphere. In the U.S., you’ll find it throughout the Northeast and in parts of the Midwest.

Foraging Carob and Honey Locust

Both trees have the compound leaves and the pods bearing multiple beans (seeds) typical of the legume family. Here’s more detailed information on identifying carob and honey locust.

Both trees start dropping their pods in late summer and early autumn. You want to gather the ones that have fallen off the tree of their own accord. You can simply gnaw on these fallen pods for a delightfully sweet trail snack. But if you yank the brown-but-not-yet-ripe-enough-to-fall ones off the trees, your face will pucker up in disgust at the metallic, astringent taste. Patience pays off with these particular wild foods.

Perhaps because carob is often compared to chocolate, many people assume that it is the seeds that yield the sweet powder. But although with cacao that is true, it’s not the case with carob, nor with honey locust.

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