Demystify Tamarind

Tamarind tree (Tamarindus indica) with pods
Tamarind Tree

What is Tamarind? ask. It is an absolutely superb fruit which grows on tall trees in South America, Asia and North Africa. The pods are about five inches long and contain seeds and a pulp that become sour when dried. The pulp of the fruit is the main portion of tamarind used in food production. When still slightly unripe, it has a very sharp, sour taste with a high level of acidity. Unripe tamarind is used in many candies and dishes throughout Asia and Latin America.

Check out some of these amazing health benefits:

  • The juice is a mild laxative and has proven to lower cholesterol, and helps promote a healthy heart
  • The pulp, leaves and flowers, in various combinations, are applied on painful and swollen joints
  • Tamarind is use as a gargle for sore throats, and as a drink to bring relief from sunstroke
  • The heated juice is used to cure conjunctivitis, and can be used as eye drops for dry eye syndrome
  • Tamarind is a great source of antioxidants
  • Tamarind reduces fevers and provides protection against colds. Make an infusion by taking one ounce of pulp, pour one quart of boiling water over this and allow to steep for one hour. Strain and drink tepid with little honey to sweeten. This will bring down temperature by several degrees.
  • Tamarind helps us with our digestive system

How do you go about cooking it?

Home Cooking Rocks has done a good job showing you how to extract the juice. We  like to use a cheese cloth instead…and we wring it out instead of using a fork and a a strainer. Don’t worry it will not stain your fingers.

Consider this your tickler until Saturday morning when we share one of our most amazing meals yet, our Goan Indian Seafood dish using Tamarind from scratch. Stay tuned! 🙂