The great benefits nature gives us with the Tamarind tree
Tamarind is a tree, easy to grow. It can be grown from the seed but then you will have a sour fruit plant. To grow the sweet tamarind we need to graft the original tree with a branch of a sweet tamarind tree. Once the tree is placed in the ground, where it can get old we need to make sure it has enough water for the first year. After this first year, the tree is strong enough and needs no more extra water.
I live in a very dry and hot region in Thailand but its known to produce the best sweet tamarind in the country. Why I didn’t plant any tamarind trees myself is, they need almost ten years to be ready for harvest the first time.
What is Tamarind used for?
The tamarind tree is another super plant which gives us all of it to use. From the leaves to the fruit down to the wood, everything is precious and can be used in one way or another
The tasty fruit pods can be used raw, dried, cooked and and and.
Many types of Tamarind are cultivated in Thailand. The sweet Tamarind, “Makaam waan” or the sour Tamarind, “Makaam piau” or the wild Tamarind, “Makaam thet”. All types are sold in markets and are very admired.
The trees grow well in dry hot climate zones and are quite undemanding. A great tree to grow within a permaculture.
The raw fresh young leaves we eat as a side dish. The not ripe fruit can be used for seasoning cold or hot dishes.They are also preserved in salt water to be used at a later occasion when fresh tamarind is not available anymore. Sometimes we eat the not totally ripe sweet tamarind as a dip with a mixture of salt, sugar, and dry chilly powder, a great treat while working in the fields.
The ripe sweet Tamarind pod is a delicious fruit people love eating all day long. It is not only very tasty but also delivers a lot of important food supplements like vitamins and much more as you will see later. In Thailand, the sweet tamarind is a great give away to family and friends.
The sour Tamarind ripe pods get dried first, then peeled and are then used in many dishes to get the typical sour taste of Thai food. To collect sour tamarind and conserve them is a nice side income for many Thai family members that cannot go for an outside job.
The wild Tamarind pods, when ripe is a bit sweet too and young and old kids love to eat them right off the trees.
Like many other fresh leaves from trees and bushes, the young tamarind tree leaves are served raw to eat with several Thai meals. They are healthy providers of fibers and chlorophyll. The taste is not very specific but eating them with other foods they are really tasty.
The old trees are cut and some of the fat stems are used to make furniture. The wood is looking very interesting due to many branches being cut off during its lifetime.
The nutrition value of the sweet Tamarind fruit is amazing.
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