The carob tree, whose name derives from the Arabic "kharrub", is an evergreen plant, very long-lived, being able to overcome several centuries, and large in size: it can reach 10-12 meters in height, while the diameter of the foliage often exceeds 10 meters. The fruits of the plant, almonds, appear in spring and reach full maturity in the period of August to September.
The carob tree originated as a spontaneous tree in the lands of the eastern Mediterranean basin. Its cultivation seems to have begun only at the time of the Greeks, who extended it to Sicily, but it was the Arabs who intensified its cultivation and spread it as far as Morocco and Spain. Other authors maintain that the original diffusion of the carob tree in Sicily was due to the Phoenicians, the most ancient colonisers of the island. In the province of Ragusa alone, 72% of the national surface area is invested, which gives 70% of Italian production and 78% of that of the island. Another particular flour intended for human consumption, studied and produced for its use as a partial substitute for cocoa, is that which is commercially known as "Cacao": it is widely used specifically in confectionery production and is greatly appreciated for its very low fat content and total absence of theobromine, as well as for its pleasant taste and its considerable sugar content.
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