Carob is maybe not the most popular ingredient, but for those who love it it’s a bit of a godsend.
Sweeter than cocoa powder and often used as a decent replacement for chocolate, there’s a lot of folks who swear by carob powder.
Still, as any ingredient carob has a shelf life. This is what we’ll be talking about today, so see if carob goes bad, and if yes then how long you can keep it.
Does carob go bad ?
Carob can expire if stored poorly. Normally carob is good for up to a year, if stored in an airtight container and kept in a cook, dark, dry place.
When carob does go bad, it doesn’t spoil but it does lose all of its flavor. There’s not much you can do with carob that’s lose any and all taste, so be sure to store it properly.
Remember that every time you open the carob container you’re exposing it to the air, and it will slowly lose its flavor.
Carob pods are dried, roasted, and ground into a dark brown powder, which is a popular form of carob. All like things in the world, carob powder can also go bad.
How to store carob properly
When you buy carob, it will be in a sealed bag or box. The more you open it to take out some carob, the more it loses its potency.
Once the container is opened, it can stay good only for about a year. That too, if you take all necessary storage precautions. This includes storing it in an opaque container in a dark, cool, and dry place, with the container lid tightly closed.
This can be a very cool pantry, or possibly the fridge if it has very good moisture control.
If you do store carob in the fridge, know that it may last for a bit over a year though we can’t vouch for exactly how much.
Read also: Is Carob Vegan ?
Can carob powder be used beyond its expiry date?
Food experts and chefs claim you can use carob powder even after those 12 months when it is likely to be expired.
So, much of the concern about carob powder becoming clumpy and spoilt after about a year is not completely useless, but it is also not such a serious problem that you should toss the carob powder container just yet. Perhaps, you can use it even beyond its expiry date.
Here’s what we mean.
What if you’ve already made a cake batter and want to add carob powder in it, and suddenly you find it’s a month past its expiry date, or there is a visible sign of it going bad?
Naturally, you have the option of tossing the whole idea of baking the cake and leaving the batter for some other use. Or, you can use the carob powder in a sort of experiment.
Well, we don’t advise you to use any product after its expiry date as it can be harmful. But let’s face it, and most food industry people will vouch for it, many of the food products are well usable beyond their expiry period.
For carob powder, there are many in the food industry who would give you a guarantee that using expired carob powder will not make anyone sick.
That being said, you should not count on this. Taste the carob powder, see if it’s still good, and then decide if it’s worth adding into the food or sweets.
Why the fuss over expired carob ?
It’s because like cocoa powder, carob powder also loses potency with time. This means, its flavor and taste mellows down with time.
People use these products exactly for these reasons and when these products fail to give the desired flavor or taste, they think, and rightly so, there is no point using carob or cocoa powder.
It’s the same as ground coffee. If it has been long past its prime, it will not brew into that fascinating early morning drink that’s the prime motivator for you to wake up in the morning.
Still, a small taste test is still worth it. Maybe you’ve sored your carob just right and it’s still flavorful even past those 12 months.
Carob loses flavor over time
Carob powder does not turn bad with time but its original flavor becomes mild. The shelf life of unopened carob powder is 3 years.
But if the container is opened and the content is stored in the prescribed manner, it will stay good for at least 12 months.
Typically, all baking essentials need to be stored in a dry and cool place in an airtight container. If these precautions are not taken, the carob powder will turn into clumps and lose its potency, flavor and taste.
When should you throw carob powder ?
Leaving aside whether you can or cannot use carob powder after its expiry date, let’s find out when you should actually throw it out.
If it is sufficiently old and it has developed a non-chocolaty vibe with its familiar scent missing, it’s time throw it away.
You will be able to tell if there is anything amiss by simply smelling it. If it smells bland and tastes peculiar, you know it is not worth using.
But if it smells and tastes just like carob powder should, you can keep it and use it even if it has been sitting in your kitchen cabinet for a couple of years.
How is carob powder used?
Carob powder is used as a substitute for cocoa powder or chocolate. It’s a highly potent natural sweetener, packing in 51 gram of sugar in a cup of carob powder, the amount of carob powder that an average size cake would have in it.
Carob powder or carob flour is used as an alternative to cocoa powder. It looks like cocoa powder and made from dried and roasted pods of carob trees.
It’s used in baked goods as a natural sweetener. Besides being sweet, it has a unique taste. Carob powder has been hugely popular during the natural food movements in the 1970s. It is supposed to have many health benefits.
When you are purchasing whole carob pods, you should look for dark brown pods with a glossy look. Make sure the pods are not pest or mold infested. For this reason avoid buying pods which have cracks or pits.
Carob powder is used in many readymade food items such as cake mixes, cookies, brownie, drops, and bars. It is also used in many confectionery items such as frozen desserts. These products also need the same kind of storage as chocolate items.
An interesting aspect of carob powder is that it has very little amount of fat. It’s higher in sugar and carbs than cocoa powder. Carob powder has 1.5 teaspoon of sugar in 2 tablespoons of carob powder, that’s about 6 gram of sugar.
While it is supposed to pack in a lot of good minerals and nutrients, carob does not have any caffeine.
Read Also:How Long Does Dough Last In The Fridge ?
While carob powder can lose its flavor over time, it definitely won’t spoil or get moldy unless very badly stored.
Always keep your carob in an airtight container in a cool, dark, dry place and you should be fine. Avoid any moisture as it will make the powder clump.