Tamarindus indica

This month’s featured fruit is one of the most widely used in the world.  Tamarind is thought to originate in Tropical Africa, but has been used and transported around the world for so long, that many places claim it as their own!

Tamarind trees are a highly adaptable medium to large tree, and are able to grow anywhere in the world that doesn’t freeze.  It can be found throughout the tropical belt of the globe.  The ripe, sticky pulp that surrounds the seeds is extremely tart to sour– though some cultivars are sweeter than others—and is used in seasonings, sauces, flavorings, candies and drinks.  It is even found in Worcestershire sauce!

Tamarind is also an example of a fruit that is also a spice.  Spice is a culinary term, not a botanical designation, so Tamarind fits both categories.  As an example, lemons are fruit, but lemon zest is a spice!

Tamarind can be found as whole fruit, processed pulp and concentrated extract.  It also is a beautiful landscape tree with graceful pinnate leaves, and we all know nothing is sweeter than something that you picked right off your own tree.