Fruits

Tamarind: everything you need to know

The tamarind tree belongs to the Fabaceae family. It is native to Africa and can be found in different tropical climates. Countries like Spain, Peru, Mexico, Costa Rica, China, India, Venezuela, among others, enjoy its numerous benefits.

The tamarind fruit has different uses, both culinary and medicinal, it has innumerable nutritional properties. The wood of its tree is used in some countries to make furniture due to its great resistance.

Tamarind Characteristics

Tamarind grows in tall trees, they can reach a length of more than 30 meters, its wood is very resistant and it has a very thick trunk.   It is a perennial plant that develops very slowly, the fruit of the tamarind grows in the form of very fragile brown pods.

Tamarind pods have a blackish seed inside, covered with a very pasty brown pulp with a sour taste, pleasant to the palate.

Tamarind Properties

Tamarind pulp has a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, such as: ascorbic acid, tartaric acid, iron, magnesium, thiamin, beta-carotene, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin C, calcium, etc. It is also rich in carbohydrates, fats, proteins, fibers, and flavonoids.

Tamarind has numerous properties, among the most important we have:

To combat constipation. It helps as a laxative thanks to its high fiber content, it is also useful for other digestive problems.

Strong bones and teeth.  Its calcium content helps strengthen bones and teeth naturally.

Lowers cholesterol. The bad cholesterol that we have in our body can be reduced by consuming this wonderful fruit, thanks to its fiber content.

Cleanses the kidneys and liver. This fruit is an excellent antioxidant, it helps eliminate toxins that can harm our liver and kidneys.

Conjunctivitis.  Tamarind seeds and their juice are used to lubricate the eyes and cure eye infections.

Reduce fever. The consumption of an infusion with this fruit helps to lower the body temperature.

Burns. The use of dried tamarind leaves, powdered and mixed with vegetable oil, works as a remedy to cure skin conditions, such as: burns, scratches, wounds.

Tamarind cultivation

  • This tree tolerates times of drought very well but requires irrigation for its good growth.
  • In winter, the plant must have protection so that it can withstand the cold weather.
  • Its cultivation must be done in mixed soils, with clay and sand content, they must have good drainage and a good amount of fertilizers.
  • The cultivation is done from the sowing of the seeds or by grafting. Germination occurs after 10 days, after this time the shoot must be transplanted.
  • After 10 years of growth, the tamarind tree will begin to bear fruit for the first time, after which it will be harvested approximately every 2 years.
  • The tree must be pruned to eliminate branches and dry leaves that prevent the proper development and growth of the plant, thus avoiding diseases and a better productivity of its fruits.

Recommendations.

  • When the plant is attacked by a disease, the best way to eliminate it is through chemical products.
  • Soil nutrients must be taken care of very well.
  • The pH of the soil must be balanced.
  • For greater productivity, there must be an adequate density in the plantation.

Tamarind Recipe

Tamarind sauce

  • 250 grams of tamarind pulp
  • 1 cup of water
  • 30 grams of sugar
  • 15 grams of white vinegar

In a small pot, place the tamarind pulp together with the water, white vinegar and sugar. We cook over low heat for 15 min and we are stirring very well so that it does not burn. After this time we lower the fire and pass through a sieve. If it is too thick you can add a little more water.

This sauce can be a good companion for meats and vegetables, salad dressing and desserts.

Tamarind Side Effects

  • Excessive consumption of tamarind can cause diarrhea due to its high fiber content.
  • Frequent intake of this fruit causes allergic reactions in some cases.
  • May cause bleeding if taken with medicines containing acetylsalicylic acid.
  • Seed dust can cause respiratory conditions.

Precautions with the use of tamarind

  • A maximum intake of one glass per day is recommended.
  • The consumption of this fruit is not recommended for pregnant or lactating women, as well as for children under 2 years of age.

Diabetic patients should take this fruit under medical supervision as it can lower glucose.

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Robert Asprin, APD is a non-dieting Accredited Practicing Dietitian passionate about inspiring positive changes in eating and lifestyle behaviors to help improve health while nurturing relationships with food and body.

Robert Asprin

Robert Asprin, APD is a non-dieting Accredited Practicing Dietitian passionate about inspiring positive changes in eating and lifestyle behaviors to help improve health while nurturing relationships with food and body.

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