Home Page

Stefan's Florilegium


This document is also available in: text or RTF formats.

carob-msg - 10/21/14


Use of carob in period.


NOTE: See also the files: sugar-msg, honey-msg, desserts-msg, candy-msg, sotelties-msg, 3-Span-Sweets-art, 14C-Sweets-art.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I  have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I  have done  a limited amount  of  editing. Messages having to do  with separate topics  were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the  message IDs  were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make  no claims  as  to the accuracy  of  the information  given  by the individual authors.


Please  respect the time  and  efforts of  those who have written  these messages. The  copyright status  of these messages  is unclear  at this time. If  information  is  published  from  these  messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org



Date: Wed, 19 Nov 1997 03:30:25 -0500 (EST)

From: <DianaFiona at aol.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Re- Beans in a Period Recip


<< A note in the text describes "carob-beans" as "Saint John's bread, Ceratonia Siliqua."  I don't have much experience in medieval cooking, but perhaps this is what is referred to in medieval recipes calling for beans.

     Lord Henry Percivale Kempe



     I wouldn't think it's likely--for one thing there are too many other

sources that discuss beans which tell us that they are the type we are more familiar with. Specifically, the beans used in Europe before Columbus were lentils, favas, and, at least to some extent, garbanzos (Chickpeas). This is the first reference I've seen to carob being used by Europeans--thanks!


    But another reason is that the carob "beans" grow on a large tree--it

*is* leguminous, I believe, rather like the honey locust tree around

here--that is too cold sensitive to grow in most of Europe, if I recall

correctly. I'd checked it out a bit when I ran across seeds or plants in one of the more exotic seed catalogs I'd found, and was disapointed to find that it wouldn't grow here. Too bad--carob tastes great, if you don't expect it to be chocolate! ;-)


    Ldy Diana

Vulpine Reach,Meridies



Date: Wed, 19 Nov 1997 09:04:13 -0600

From: khkeeler <kkeeler at unlinfo.unl.edu>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Re- Beans in a Period Recip


DianaFiona at aol.com wrote:

> the first reference I've seen to carob being used by Europeans--thanks!


Carob is mentioned in the Dioscorides' herbal (AD 64 and the most

important medicinal herbal across all of Period)


Carob is "native to the Mediterranean region, ...its common name, St.

John's bread, is comes from the fact that it constituted the "locust" on which John the Baptist fed. In ancient times carob seeds were used as

weights for small quantities of of precious substances such as gold

because they are extremely uniform in size.  Our modern unit the carat,

used for gold and jewels, is a reflection of this former use.

Traditionally carob pods were gathered from wild trees and the sweet

mesocarp pulp was choosed from the endocarp surrounding the seeds. The

seeds themselves have been used to make a coffeelike beverage." BB

Simpson and MC Ogorzaly Economic Botany 2nd ed 1995, p. 224.


This sounds like it wasn't a "bean", but Simpson and Ogorzaly isn't

focused on the Middle Ages the way we are so there may be more to the




Mag Mor, Calontir



Date: Mon, 12 Oct 1998 14:02:33 -0400

From: renfrow at skylands.net (Cindy Renfrow)

Subject: Re: SC - murri info now carob/ dibs question repost


> Is there documentation for use of carob in medieval European cooking?



"Wine is also made from the Syrian carob, and from pears and all kinds of

apples (one from pomegranates is called rhoites) as also from cornels,

medlars, service berries, dried mulberries and fir-cones; the last are

soaked in must before being pressed, but the juice of the preceding fruits

is sweet of itself..." Pliny the Elder, Natural History, Book XIV, section

XIX, pp. 255-257.


Carob is mentioned in Tacuinam Sanitatis.





Date: Mon, 1 May 2000 21:47:07 -0500

From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>

Subject: RE: SC - Chocolate documentation?


> The only place I have seen this claim made is in Fabulous Feasts.  Do we

> have any evidence for the use of Carob, St John's Bread , or Manna (or the

> equation of carob with the other two names) in the middle ages other than

> Fab Feasts?


> Brangwayna Morgan


In one of Platina's recipes for peas, peas are boiled in water with carob,

before being saut├łed with salt pork and spiced with verjuice or must or

spices.  Platina's not handy at the minute, so I don't have an exact quote..





Date: Thu, 4 May 2000 00:11:20 -0400

From: "Bethany Public Library" <betpulib at ptdprolog.net>

Subject: Subject: SC - Carob - OOP


I'm not so sure it can't be traced back----if not exactly, at least it's

usage. There is a recipe in Platina that calls for carob, and the Italian

cuisine borrows a lot from the arabic.




Anahita wrote:

Below is something authentic and historical - but not documented

before 1601 to my knowledge:


From Tess Mallos, "The Complete Middle East Cookbook" (1979)

Chapter on Lebanon/Syria/Jordan

p. 181:

Dibs, carob syrup, is also very much a part of the cuisine. It is

mixed with tahini [thin sesame paste] and spread on khoubiz [flat

bread or pita].


Think of it as Middle Eastern Nutella :-) Not "period", but someone

was wondering what to do with carob...


Anahita al-shazhiyya


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org