While bearing large quantities of delicious fruit, the tamarind still remains one of the lesser known tropical fruit trees. While its origin is Africa, many consider it indigenous to India because of its long heritage there. From India, the tamarind traveled to the Persians and Arabs. There it was called “tamar hindi”, meaning Indian date because the ripe pulp appears similar to the date. Today the tamarind is naturalized throughout most subtropical and tropical regions.
This evergreen tree bears cinnamon-brown velvety bean-like pods. Upon ripening, the pulp turns brown and the skin becomes brittle. As the pulp dehydrates in the pod it turns into a sticky paste and shrinks away from the shell.
The ripened fruit is eaten fresh and has a delightful tangy ﬂavor. The pulp is commonly used in chutneys, curries, and sauces. Tamarind-ade is a refreshing drink made with ripened pulp, water, and sugar. The fruit is high in calcium, iron, phosphorous, and vitamin B. It also has a wide range of medicinal uses.
The tamarind tree is a beautiful, sun-loving, tropical legume. It is a stately tree with strong branches, attractive compound leaves and striking textured bark. Though slow-growing it can become impressively large, up to 50’ tall with a spread of 35’. It is both drought and wind resistant. Tamarind will grow in a wide variety of soil types but does poorly in waterlogged areas. It can withstand salt spray, which makes it ideal to plant along the coastline as a windbreak.
To find a tamarind tree or other tropical fruit trees stop by our nursery or contact us at (239) 543-3246. ECHO’s Global Nursery and Bookstore is open Monday to Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and Saturdays 9:00 am-4:00 pm.
Have you tasted tamarind before? Tell us about your favorite way to eat it in the comments below: