Tamarind – nature’s sweets!
Not sure what tamarind is? Well, if you’ve not heard of it and you have sweet tooth, I strongly suggest you give it a go! These little beauties are one of nature’s sweets and are completely guilt free to eat.
So, what is tamarind? It is a delicious, sweet and sour fruit that has a wide variety of uses, both medicinal and for cooking. The tamarind tree originates from the tropical areas of Africa but is now in all tropical areas of the world since there is a high demand for it.
The health benefits have been studied over a long period and include: reducing inflammation, improving vision, boosting the respiratory system, healing skin complaints and improving digestion. Tamarind is also reported to relieve pain, boost the immune system, reduce fever, lower cholesterol and prevent cancer. There are also great nutritional benefits such as vitamins C, E, & B, calcium, iron, phosphorous, potassium, manganese and fibre.
It can be eaten as a raw fruit, added to desserts or dried and ground into a spice. It is frequently used in jams and sauces and is a staple ingredient in dishes across Asia and South America.
In the UK, you can buy it in boxes from most major supermarkets (usually in the specialist vegetable isle).
I’ve posted a picture to help give you an idea of how to eat tamarind as a raw fruit because it’s certainly not obvious looking at it! Tamarind has been a long standing talking point in my household as they also have a comical shape.
So, in the picture, the far left is the tamarind with the shell on, working clockwise, the next picture is where I’ve started to take the shell off (just crack if open using your hands as the shell is not very tough). Then, once you have the shell off, peel off the rind (as I call it) then you are left with the naked tamarind. Pop this in your mouth however, be aware it contains sizeable black stones so don’t bite down too hard. I simply tease the flesh from the seeds with my teeth and spit the seeds out.
These truly are delicious and are sure to satisfy any sweet craving. I find two is more than enough. I dare you to try and let me know what you think!