The kharoub tree is one of the many trees indigenous to Palestine. It’s known for the delicious, nutritious, and versatile fruits its bears each year, and it’s just now time for the annual harvest!
Kharoub has traditionally been used for food and drinks — and three are very popular. First is the kharoub brew! You can find this being sold by street vendors, many of whom dress in Turkish or Syrian costume when selling it. This is a very popular drink during Ramadan because it’s so nourishing!
In other parts of the world, people use kharoub nibs and kharoub powder to use as a replacement for chocolate. In fact, there are a number of nutritional benefits when using this as a chocolate replacement! It’s caffeine-free, it helps with digestion, it’s packed with antioxidants, and is even lower in calories and fat. And because of the great versatility of these nibs and powder, a lot of people use this to make dibis kharoub, or kharoub molasses.
Then there’s another dish called m’qiqa. This dish is known among older generations in Palestine, and it uses the green, unripened kharoub pod. This dish has since slipped into memory, as it hasn’t been made as often as it was in its heyday.
Traditional knowledge says the seeds were all an even weight, so they used to be used as a measurement of weight. Even though today we have more exact measurements for weight, this is still a wonderful part of Palestinian folklore that makes the kharoub tree that much more important.
During the late summer and fall, the female trees start to flower, producing some pretty stinky flowers. But when the kharoub pods are ready for harvesting, they turn from this unripened green to a hardened dark brown. When they’re overripe, the pods turns black.
And since the kharoub pods are so sweet, animals tend to love it too! Morgan and her family actually fed boiled kharoub byproduct to their goats, and they absolutely loved it. Birds also have a deep love for kharoub, with robins seen frequenting the trees for nesting or food!
There aren’t many kharoub trees left in Palestine since a lot have already been cut down. This is because so many people in Palestine use it for fire wood as they turn toward using wood- burning stoves. So, there’s become more poaching on this tree that has slowly become unvalued to many people.
This means that kharoub has been imported into Palestine much more over the years, as the love for its sweet fruits still remains. So around this time of year, for the remaining trees in Palestine, we celebrate this wonderful tree’s harvest!
We’ve shared an easy recipe you can use to celebrate the kharoub harvest with us! Find it on our blog here. Get carob nibs from our shop in our food and olive oil collection.