Sunday, May 3, 2009


I have been watching our tamarind pods swell for months now and whenever I asked Amparo (my neighbor) if they were ready I heard "verde." So I have been giving them a little squeeze now and then and then forgot about them and got fascinated with the carambolas. Suddenly everyone along the highway has got bags of these little peanut looking things - ahhh tamarind, mine must be ready. Sure enough, there are many ripe pods waiting for harvest!

As fruit goes they are not the most attractive of fruits - they are kind of disgusting looking. When you get the shell off they are REALLY disturbing looking. If they are soft you can harvest, if they are cracked they might have residents (worms) or be dried out (seco). They, like everything here have to be just right (not verde, maduro, viejo, nuevo, amarillo, blandito etc etc)

So this is a pile of the goo I smooshed off the seeds. Why would a person do this? Yummy in Thai cooking is why - I made a nice sauce with tamarind, fish sauce, hot pepper, soy sauce, shallots and then dumped it over sauted shrimp! Yum yum yum!

The other thing you can do is make a very nice beverage. You take the husks off so they look lovely like this (barf) and then cover with water, swish around a few times, swish some more the next day, run it through a seive and if you have the sour "pais" tamarind (wild ones) add sugar - ours is a sweet one and didn't need a thing!  I wonder who the first person was who decided this was something to eat? I am lucky to have a neighbor who can show me how to process stuff - tamarind, breadfuit (still unsure of when they are ripe), yucca...who would know what to do?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Once you make the beverage, it is great if you freeze some like Ice Pops. We used to enjoy them that way as kids!