Ceratonia - royal horns
Amid the noise and din of bazaars and fairs of Tsarist Russia, the loud voices of sweets dealers were constantly heard: “Tsaregradsky pods! Sweet horns! Naval, who got the money! ”
There was something to tear your throats from: sweets weren’t a big deal, but huge profits promised.
In places of cultivation of Tsaregradsky pods, they went to feed livestock, and only the poor occasionally ate them. For 400 thousand rubles in gold, horns were imported annually into Russia, and the proceeds from their sale were not amenable to accounting.
Where was this profitable product extracted? It turns out that the Tsaregradsky pods are the fruits of a carob tree, ceratonia. Its culture has long been known in the Mediterranean countries.
The scientific name of the genus Ceratonia comes from the Greek κεράτιον (ceratiοn), κέρας (ceras), meaning "horn." The term carat, meaning a measure of weight, also comes from the same Greek κεράτιον (ceratiοn), in connection with the use of seeds of the species Ceratonia siliqua in ancient Rome as a measure of weight.
Ceratonia is a small 10-meter tree of a family of legumes that look like white acacia. However, their evergreen wide crown is denser than that of acacia, the flowers are small, inconspicuous, collected in a brush.
Well, the brown fruits - carob beans - these are Tsaregradsky pods, or sweet horns. They are quite large, with a length of 10 to 25 centimeters, a width of up to 4 centimeters and a thickness of 1 centimeter. The seeds of the ceratonia fruit are immersed in a juicy sweetish pulp (about 50 percent sugar).
These trees bear fruit regularly, yielding up to 200 kilograms of fruit annually. The fruits of ceratonia are usually removed unripe and left for several days in the sun until the pulp ferments them. Enterprising merchants in case of unsatisfactory sales of Tsaregradsky pods squeezed juice from them and sold them as syrup or distilled them to alcohol, and processed the remaining pulp into a coffee substitute.
After a long search, ancient jewelers and pharmacists made sure that the hard, flat brown seeds of ceratonium - a carob tree are extremely uniform in weight. Therefore, they began to use them as peculiar weights when weighing precious stones and precious metals: diamonds, emeralds, gold, platinum. We found the use of weights-seeds of the carob tree and in the pharmacopeia.
Currently, carob fruits are not used as a treat.
Author: S. I. Ivchenko