*Tamarind is the fruit of the evergreen tree, Tamarindus indica, of the family Fabaceae, native to tropical Africa.
*Tamarind fruits are 3-8 inches long, have a legume like pod shapes and a brown-colored thick shells. The inside pulp is light green in color and very tart in young fruits and dark brown-colored, soft, sweetish sour in ripened fruits. It has many non-edible hard-coated seeds.
*Ripened tamarind pulp is used as a spice to flavor curries, stews, chutneys. sauces and soups very often in Southeast Asian cuisine.
*Some only sweet varieties are also cultivated to be eaten as fresh fruits.
*Apart from the fruits, the tender leaves are also used in cooking, as they add a distinctly sour flavor to the dish.
*It is available as fresh ripe whole fruits, dried fruits, pulp or concentrate.
*Buying and storage: Select good quality whole fruits, dried fruits, pulp, or concentrate. Whole fruits should be consumed fresh or refrigerated for up to a week. Dried fruits can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature in a cupboard for 4-6 months. Unopened pulp and concentrate can be stored at room temperature, but once opened, it should be refrigerated.
Is it raw?
Yes and No.
*Yes, whole fruits and dried fruits are raw.
*No, pulp, concentrate, nectar, etc are not raw. Make sure you read the label.
1. Tamarind is rich in Vitamin C, a natural water soluble antioxidant. It enhances the body's immune system, maintains the elasticity of skin and blood vessels, increases the absorption of iron from the intestines and prevents bruising of the skin.
2. Good source of magnesium that helps in relieving fatigue, relaxing the muscles, nerves and blood vessels, thus relieving the symptoms of asthma, migraine headaches, tension, soreness in muscles.
3. Good source of potassium, this along with low sodium, helps maintain normal blood pressure and reduces the risk of hypertension.
4. Moderate source of calcium and phosphorus, which strengthen the bones.
5. Moderate source of other minerals that are also essential to maintain proper metabolism in the body.
6. Good source of B-group vitamins, which are essential to enhance the energy production from the foods, maintain normal protein metabolism, enhance the immunity, and are also cofactors of many important enzymatic reactions in the body.