What is tamarind?
A fruit with a tart, acidic and sweet flavour, the sour fruity taste is a popular ingredient in many Indian and South East Asian savoury dishes but is also used around the world in jams and sweet desserts.
All parts of the tamarind tree are used with oil being created to varnish wood, used to create highly prized furniture, leaves added to curries and the red and yellow flowers sprinkled over salads. It is also used as a dye and due to the pulp having an acidic nature, even makes a good metal polish for copper and bronze!
Medicinally tamarind is thought to have a lot of health benefits and has been used to treat nausea, constipation and to help relieve sunstroke. The bark and leaves have also been used to treat wounds and help with healing.
The fruit is found in three forms – raw pods that can be opened to reveal the sticky pulp inside, pressed blocks which are compressed from the pulp with the seeds and shells removed and concentrate which is the pulp of the tamarind boiled down.