The Locust Bean comes from a type of evergreen Carob
tree, Ceratonia siliqua
, originating in the Mediterranean
basin, specifically Syria
and Asia Minor
The fruit comes in long, narrow pods, each containing small seeds about one centimeter long. The Gum itself is made from the carbohydrate reserve of the seed.
It has been known for its thickening properties for thousands of years. The paste used to glue bandages to Egyptian mummies was made from Locust Beans.
In the early 20th century, Locust Bean Gum became an industrial product, used to thicken and add texture, mainly to frozen foods.
It is widely used in ice cream, cream cheese, some types of popsicles as mentioned above, processed cheese food products, and bakery. It is the last ingredient in Lay's Sour Cream and Onion Potato Chips.
It reacts well with dairy products and has high hydration properties when heated. It's viscosity increases with heat.
It is composed of the following:
Major Monosaccharides: D-mannose, D-galactose
Nonionic Seed Polysaccharide: straight chain mannan grouping with branching on every second mannose by one galactose unit.
Locust Bean Gum has not been found to cause cancer in laboratory rats.