The tamarind: Origin
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 Archipelago, the tamarind is called “Seaside Tamarind”. This name comes from the fact that tamarind trees are located along volcanic sandy beaches. This tall tree is a long-lived, medium growth, bushy tree that can attain a maximum crown height of 12 to 18 metres. The tamarind tree can withstand drought conditions quite well and is highly wind-resistant because of its strong branches. The tree is a beautiful spreading crown that casts a light shade.
The tamarind fruit is a brown, curved pod between 8 to 20 centimetres 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 can be easily broken while the pulp dehydrates to a sticky paste. The pulp has a pleasing sweet/sour flavour and is high in both acid and sugar.
Nutrients and Health benefits
Tamarind fruits are excellent sources of vitamins B, C and E as well as calcium, iron, manganese, phosphorous and dietary fiber. Eating tamarind as a fruit can improve your digestive health, reduce blood pressure as well as improving nerve function. If you are pregnant, tamarind juice is highly recommended to reduce mornings sickness. Finally, high levels of vitamin C make tamarind a good way to boost your immune system.
In Guadeloupe Archipelago, the tamarind pulp is used to do jams, juices, syrups and punch (mix of tamarind juice with rum).