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Sunday, June 15, 2014

carob syrup ....discovery of the week

Do you ever fret that sugar is so energy intensive that we should not eat it, even if it was healthy? And we are  learning how very unhealthy is the high fructose corn syrup sweetener. This fructose is found in -well ,just about every processed food , especially fizzy drinks . The fructose corn stuff is GM,(  as is the soy that is also in every processed food) . High fructose corn syrup  is not recognized by the body as a food, but as  a toxin. Dr Robert Lustig , pediatric endocrinologist,  tells us this and many things in his speech "The bitter Truth about Sugar" which has had nearly 5 million views!! His latest offering "Fat Chance  Fructose 2.0"  is also very interesting
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ceFyF9px20Y


So I am pleased to report that we just made carob syrup for the first time, and  it is surprisingly nice!   The carob bean is something like 78 % sugar .Traditional recipes call for 5 kgs of carob beans and 4 kgs of sugar, but I am quite happy with the carob on its own. The tree is dioecious ( and here spell check can’t help me)  It means there are male and female trees. It takes about 20  years to find out who is who and the females to start bearing .The bad news  is, only one in 10 is a female. On the bright side they are all handsome evergreen trees and  wow, do the females  ever crank out the carob pods!  If you are a clever clogs you can successfully graft  most of your trees with female scions. Might give it a go one day with no expectation of success.
These trees can handle any  amount of heat and drought once established. Carob pods are very sweet and mineral rich and a great stock food, but for me they are a tad fibrous. I call them a fibrous mars bar.  But lo! Carob syrup  can be rendered out of the pods . It fits in wonderfully with Mediteranean permaculture, because the pods ripen in May and can be collected and stored easily. Come June you will probably have a wood stove going , burning the latest tree that fell down on a fence to heat the home and boost your solar hot water. You just break  up the carob pods in your hands while talking on the phone ( its not messy), then soak this in a pot  for a day, then boil for an hour or 2, strain out the juice and put it back on the stove. Reserve the dregs for the pigs  to cheer them up on a cold, miserable day. With the fire going   the juice  evaporates down  overnight to a yummy syrup.It doesnt seem to need stirring. 
If you put cream with it and some roasted nuts,  it is heavenly. I think a new  winter tradition has just begun at our place.  All ingredients could come from any half decent WA permaculture , so  being a locavore doesn’t have to mean being skinny . At our place chestnuts, macadamias, walnuts and pecans fall from the trees in late May. The fuerte avocado is on in June/July and could be mashed and mixed in to extend what I can only describe as  a super healthy version of “nutella”. 

If you are sad to be missing out on processed food because you don’t want to support GM corn and soy plantations, I salute you.  Smile now because  you can grow carobs , you can milk a jersey cow! We are going to be all right!
One of the 4 jersey heifers born this year on the farm.

 Local, organic,  superfood carob syrup is easily done and  no doubt can be bottled.  Now is the perfect  time to plant a heap of carob seeds and start a carob forest.  We can post you seeds for $3.50 a packet . http://merribeeorganicfarm.blogspot.com.au/search?q=seed+catalogue

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