Tamarind is a wonderful additive to sauces, but the fresh, sticky pulp inside the pods can also be eaten as a sweet-sour treat.
Tamarind is the fruit of a tree native to East Africa and
• There is only one species of tamarind tree from which the dark reddish, curved pods are harvested. The pods, which grow to about 7 inches in length, contain seeds and fibrous strips that must be strained to reserve the sticky pulp.
• Sold as whole pods, paste, extract, nectar and in powdered form.
• May also be called tamarindo, asam, and Indian date.
• Pulp extract is available and more convenient than boiling whole pods.
• Sweet tamarind is available for use in beverages.
• Purchase extract if available as it’s much more convenient than boiling pods.
• Compressed pulp is also formed into blocks. These may be labeled as “wet” or “water” tamarind.
• Whole pods include the “husks,” which easily peel away on mature fruits.
• Some Asian markets may carry “makahm wahn,” which is the sweetest.
• Always check labels; some types have added salt and should not be used in sweet dishes.
• Keep whole pods and compressed blocks in plastic bags away from heat and light. They’ll be usable indefinitely.
• Refrigerate liquids (water tamarind) after opening and use within two weeks. Juice, whether purchased or homemade, will begin to ferment within one week.
• There is no need to refrigerate pastes or concentrates until opening.
• Concentrated pulp freezes well.
• Tamarind is often used in marinades as an acidic tenderizer.
• When reconstituting, always strain to remove fibrous pulp and any seeds.
• For most recipes, the tamarind pulp should have the consistency of a concentrate
by BigOven team and Steve Murch
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