Native to tropical Africa, the tamarind is extensively cultivated in tropical areas of the world. This leguminous tree was introduced into India for such a long time, that’s why it has often been reported as indigenous.
In Guadeloupe, the tamarind is called “Seaside Tamarind” because you find the tamarind tree along volcanic sandy beaches. This tall tree is a long-lived, medium growth, bushy tree which attains a maximum crown height of 12 to 18 metres (40 to 60 feet). The tamarind tree can withstand drought conditions quite well and is highly wind-resistant with strong, supple branches. The tree is a beautiful spreading crown that casts a light shade.
The tamarind fruit is a brown, curved pod between 3 and 8 inch long containing from 3 to 12 large, flat, glossy, black seeds and an acidulous pulp. When still slightly unripe, it has a very sharp, sour taste with a high level of acidity. When fully ripe, the shells are brittle and easily broken and the pulp dehydrates to a sticky paste. The pulp has a pleasing sweet/sour flavour and is high in both acid and sugar. It is also rich in vitamin B and high in calcium.
In Guadeloupe the tamarind pulp is used to do jams, juices, syrups and punch (mix of tamarind juice with rum).