It's time to read and vote for your favorite article in the 2013 Write-Off Contest! The four finalist's articles are featured in the May 13 newsletter and can be found through this link. Hurry! Voting ends May 18.
On Aug 7, 2012, alyx_c from San Antonio, TX wrote:
I am from the US Virgin Islands and have eaten this fruit my entire life. We have the sweet type in our yard and the sours one all over the Island. They like to grow at the beach, in the sand and hot sun. In San Antonio I started one from a seed that had already been made into what we call a Tamarind ball. I started it last winter (Dec 2011) in a pot under a light. In March it was about 2 - 3" tall. I took it down to Padre Island and put it in the sand (no dirt on the Barrier Islands) at my Beach house A month later it was 12" tall and now it's about 2' with branches coming out everywhere. It only gets water when I am down there.
For food when ripe(remove veins): boil them with water and lots of sugar to make the drink (can use little cinnamon if desired). Take the hard shell off and roll 5 seeds together with sugar to make Tamarind Balls. Boil with water and lots of sugar, as needed to make very thick paste for candy, put in small cups and let cool. All of these should be stored in the frig if not consuming right away. If you have sweet ones, less sugar is needed. The sour one are so sour they make your mouth water before you eat them if you have had them before. :-) One thing to note this fruit will help if you suffer from constipation, eat enough and you can have a colonoscopy.
I have a couple small tamarind seedlings. I expect that I will need to learn some kind of modified bonsai technique to keep them - we will see.
To germinate seed - I took seeds from dried tamarind (from the supermarket!), cleaned them, dropped them into hard-boiling water for 3 minutes. I then allowed the water to cool to room temperature, and then dried them before planting. They germinated in about 10 days.
The pods are great to cook with - in Asian dishes, the pulp is a great addition to curries, chutneys and stir-fries. It's also GREAT sweetened - the flavor is a SOUR apple-meets-lemon flavor which - after adding sugar - makes for dynamite jams and preserves and agua fresca-type drinks.
The seedlings are quite attractive, with compound leaves that close in late afternoon, and open about an hour before sunrise. They like good light, and have medium water requirements, but otherwise are fairly low-maintainence. They will need to go into a deep pot early. As this is a legume (a member of the pea family), the roots are nitrogen-fixers, so don't overdo it with fertilizers.
On May 30, 2010, cowhow from Fort Worth, TX wrote:
My wife is Costa Rican and on our trip this past spring we brought seeds back with us. I am happy to report I have three seedlings growing. I am curious to know if anyone in North Texas has had success growing these. I am concerned they will no survive the winter once planted in the ground.
On Aug 9, 2006, patty_in_wisc from Milwaukee, WI wrote:
I found these seeds under it's tree in Mexico on vacation back in April, 2004. I found them in drawer this spring & planted 3 seeds --2 grew. One is now about 7inches high & I could not remember what the tree looked like. I posted a pic of it in a forum & someone mentioned Tamarind, so I looked it up here. Sure enough, that's what it is! It is so graceful looking- no one around here ever saw anything like it. I have a 13 ft high sunroom that I grow citrus & tropicals in, but this one might just get too big for it unless I can somehow dwarf it. Maybe root pruning , like bonsai? After 2 yrs in a unsealed plastic bag, it still germinated to my surprise!
On May 23, 2006, CarolesJungle from Naples, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:
My tree was around 5 foot when planted in 1998. Wonderful shade tree with lacy looking foliage. Interesting look when the pods are hanging from the tree. The tree was damaged in Hurricane Charlie and again in Wilma. Big limbs split off from the main trunk like a wishbone... but it did not bat an eye so far. It just keeps growing. Some of the limbs grow out and downward giving me the feeling like it is reaching out to protect the plants in the area. I keep the limbs trimmed so I can walk under it.
On Oct 15, 2003, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:
The pods on the ground are perfect to be eaten, so no need to worry about trying to reach the taller branches to get the fruits. The sweet pulp inside the thin shell is a bit acid, but sweet, somewhat refreshing in my opinion. You can eat it in natura, but it´s more commonly used in candies and juices.
This plant is quite easily grown from seed if the seeds are fresh. I'm not sure how long the seeds stay viable. I soaked them for a couple of days first, and they came up in less than two weeks. Once established they need plenty of sun.
This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:
Grenoble, San Pedro, California Coral Springs, Florida Fruitville, Florida Homestead, Florida June Park, Florida Miami, Florida Rockledge, Florida Vineyards, Florida Hawaiian Acres, Hawaii Hulbert, Oklahoma Corpus Christi, Texas Holiday Lakes, Texas Houston, Texas San Antonio, Texas (2 reports) Frederiksted, Virgin Islands Milwaukee, Wisconsin