Thursday, April 16, 2009

Natural Ibiza: Carobs

Known as the Pitiusus because of the pines which cover Ibiza, the island also has much more important crops which helped the Ibicencos subsist for hundreds of years before tourism.

Take the carob tree for example. Gnarled and knotted these ancient trees dot the landscape and produce large seed pods which turn from green to brown when they mature.

They're harvested using long canes to knock them off the branches and onto nets spread around the tree where they are gathered for processing.

In the old days they were used for animal feed and also to produce alcohol for industrial use. Now the pods are prized because they can be used to produce 'healthy' substitute chocolate.

Interestingly the Carob seeds in the pods are of such uniform size and weight that they were used by ancient peoples as a measure for precious metals and stones. We still use the name today - carat - for gold and diamonds.

1 comment:

  1. Extremely interesting! & informative. Love everything about this special little Island & its culture. Always feel guilty invading it for our annual holiday but cant think of a more idyllic location & hope our small contribution to their economy is worth it. Love the arts on the island as well as the flora, fauna, history & beautiful people.