Carrubbi carrubbi

September 29, 2010


The carob

Carob pod, Southeast Sicily, copyright Jann HuizengaThe carob tree

Carob Tree in Southeast Sicily, copyright Jann HuizengaThe carob farmer

Carob Farmers in Southeast Sicily, copyright Jann Huizenga

The carob harvest

Harvesting Carobs in Southeast Sicily, copyright Jann Huizenga

The farmer whacks at the tree with a long cane stick, and the fruit comes raining down. His wife presses a sackful on us. “Take it to America.”

Carobs, loaded with protein, are what kept Sicilians in this area alive during WWII. Locals ate so many that they couldn’t look at them for decades. But carobs are making a big comeback in the form of carob gelato, carob pasta, carob cake. Bite into them raw! Chewy and earthy, aren’t they?

Before we leave, the farmer says, “What’s the name of your president?”


“Ah, si” he says. “Do you want to exchange him for ours? We will have Obama and you take Berlusconi.”

Thank you for the kind offer, we say, declining, and bid them addio.


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13 comments to Carrubbi carrubbi

  • Joe

    My father, who was born in Palma di Montechiaro, used carob to clean
    and flavor his wine barrels. My mother would boil the pods in water,
    and the steaming liquid (which smells positively awful, by the way)
    was poured into the barrels and sloshed around. I hadn’t thought of
    that in years. I’m glad to have an opportunity to tell you
    how much I enjoy your Web site. It helps me get through the dry spells
    between visits to Sicily!

    • Jann

      Well, that’s really interesting, Joe. I’m reading a book now about the new wine makers in Sicily today (it’s called Palmento–I’m going to feature the book on a blog coming up soon). Some are trying to go back to Sicily’s traditional ways of wine-making. I wonder if the new wine makers know about this use of carobs?

      Thanks so much for reading & commenting!

  • Hi Jann!

    Thank you for yet another insightful post. Great pictures! As they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words”, but a thousand seems too few. One could certainly create his/her own story from the photographs.

    Again, thank you for sharing.

    Ciao bella!

  • I too love the rich carob-y glow of the photos – brilliant! And another thing: Dogs love carob. They can eat carob, while they cannot tolerate chocolate. Good to know, eh?

  • cemal

    We call them ‘the goat horn’ here in Turkey…! Grown in the Mediterranean region.

  • Your blog post made me laugh! Benfatto, grazie.
    Don’t think I’ve ever eaten carrubo in any form other than a protein bar or powder… chissa` se lo trovo fresco da qualche parte a San Diego.
    Jodina of

    • Jann

      Hi Jodina–as far as I know carobs are not grown in the US anyplace…so I doubt you’ll find them fresh.

      I see you teach Italian in San Diego! (Check her out all you Southern-CA Italophiles!)

  • joe g.

    I would have traded!!!!

  • I love the rich carob tone you’ve applied to these wonderful photos. We tried to fob off carob sweets rather than chocolate to our daughter when she was little. She soon grew wise to our ways and became a chocoholic like her mother. I think your picture of the carob farmer and his wife (?) is fantastic! So much character.

    • Jann

      Thanks for your comments on the photos, Louciao! Yes, give me dark chocolate gelato over carob any day (though the carob gelato here is very good.)

  • Branka

    We cannot trade Obama. He’s the best!!! Siamo in accordo? Bene!

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