Monday, March 2, 2009

Tamarind (Tamarindus indica)

Tamarind tree can be easily identified as it has wide spread branches along with a thick trunk usually straight and height that can rise up to 40 feet. Its leaves are grow in alternate patterns are bit hairy and can be in 12 or 15 pairs. The flowers of tamarind are very fragrant and have red or purple filaments. The legumes of the tamarind tree are oblong close to linear, little compressed that are imbedded with acidic pulps. The interesting thing about the leaflets is that they close in cold moist weather and after sunsets. The tamarind fruit is a brown pod-like legume. Inside the pod are many hard-coated seeds covered with a brown soft pulp, which is the edible part.

How to grow
The tamarind is well adapted to semiarid tropical conditions, although it does well in many humid tropical areas of the world with seasonally high rainfall. Young trees are very susceptible to frost, but mature trees will withstand brief periods of 28° F without serious injury.

Tamarinds tolerate a great diversity of soil types but do best in deep, well drained soils which are slightly acid. The tamarind is adapted to semiarid regions of the tropics and can withstand drought conditions quite well. Suitable for tropical or subtropical climate. The tree will be starting flowering in 3 to 4 years cultivation.

Soak the seed overnight and sow seed in spring, or during the wet season, keep soil moist and cover lightly the seed, soil temperature should be at least 25°C for good germination. The seeds will germinate in 7 to 14 days and pop through into the sunlight.

Harvesting info:
Tamarind fruits mature in late spring to early summer. They may be left on the tree for as long as 6 months after maturity so that the moisture content will be reduced to 20% or lower. Fruits for immediate processing are often harvested by pulling the pod away from the stalk.

Nutrition info:
Tamarind is highly rich in following nutrients: Citric bitartrate, gum, pectin, some grape sugar, tartaric and malic acids, potassium, and parenchymatous fiber.

The fruit pulp is edible. Pulp of young fruits is sour and acidic, but ripe fruits are sweeter. Young leaves can be used in salads. Tamarinds may be eaten fresh, but they area most commonly used with sugar and water in the American tropics to prepare a cooling drink. The pulp is used to flavor preserves and chutney, to make meat sauces ant to pickle fish. Candy can be made by mixing the pulp with dry sugar and molding it into desired shape

Tamarind has febrifuge, refrigerant cathartic, astringent, antiseptic and many other properties that make tamarind as the great herbs for human health. The every part of tamarind tree is usable and required to cure different diseases. Bowel complaints, bilious problems, worms in stomach, jaundice, sore eyes, ulcers or so on, tamarind can cure several diseases and disorders effectively

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