Caroubes (carobs) are native to the Mediterranean region, although not many are grown commercially in France (Morocco and Portugal are the biggest producers). The pods are called gousses.
In ancient Greece their seeds were used as a unit of weight called the ‘carat’: one seed, or one carat, weighed 200mg. This measurement is still used to weigh precious stones and gold.
In health food shops you can buy powdered carob (poudre de caroube), a syrup, or carob mixed with chocolate to make a Nutella-like pâte à tartiner or mélasse de caroube, carob molasses. Most carobs, however, are dried into flour and used in confectionary.
Image by Roger prat