Tamarind - food
A versatile fruit
|Image: Tamarind pulp is sold in compressed blocks.|
The pulp is usually sold dry and needs to be soaked before use. It is added to sauces and used to marinade meat before frying. In some parts of South Asia the juice is used to pickle fish and vegetables. Extracts of tamarind are used in flavouring products such as Worcestershire sauce and in a special Indian seafood pickle called 'tamarind fish'.
Syrupy tamarind pulp is used to make sweets and drinks. Leaves from the tamarind tree can also be eaten as a vegetable. The pulped fruits are also used to manufacture drinks. These are often flavoured with other spices, such as ginger, pepper and lime and are sold carbonated in cans.
The seeds are also edible and flour made from them can be used to bake cakes and breads. Roasted seeds are reputed to be delicious. Seeds can also be a source of polysaccharides that can be used commercially to produce thickening agents. Extracts from the seeds have been used as a stabiliser in ice cream.
The tender leaves, flowers and young seedlings are also eaten as vegetables. Leaves are fed to livestock as fodder and the flowers are considered to be a good source of honey.