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Benefits of Tamarind
21. Mouth ulcers
Tamarind pulp with a mix of crushed herbs such as coriander and mint is an excellent treatment for mouth ulcers. Tamarind has a cooling effect on ulcers caused by hot and spicy foods.
In some regions the type with reddish flesh is distinguished from the ordinary brown fleshed type and regarded as superior in quality. There are types of tamarinds that are sweeter than most. One in Thailand is known as 'Makham waan'. One distributed by the United States Department of Agriculture's Subtropical Horticulture Research Unit, Miami, is known as 'Manila Sweet'.
Very young trees should be protected from cold but older trees are surprisingly hardy. Wilson Popenoe wrote that a large tree was killed on the west coast of Florida (about 7.5? lat. N) by a freeze in 1884. However, no cold damage was noted in South Florida following the low temperatures of the winter of 1957-1958 which had severe effects on many mango, avocado, lychee and lime trees. Dr. Henry Nehrling reported that a tamarind tree in his garden at Gotha, Florida, though damaged by freezes, always sprouted out again from the roots. In northwestern India, the tree grows well but the fruits do not ripen. Dry weather is important during the period of fruit development. In South Malaya, where there are frequent rains at this time, the tamarind does not bear.
The tree tolerates a great diversity of soil types, from deep alluvial soil to rocky land and porous, oolitic limestone. It withstands salt spray and can be planted fairly close to the seashore.
Tamarind seeds remain viable for months, will germinate in a week after planting. In the past, propagation has been customarily by seed sown in position, with thorny branches protecting the young seedlings. However, today, young trees are usually grown in nurseries. And there is intensified interest in vegetative propagation of selected varieties because of the commercial potential of tamarind products. The tree can be grown easily from cuttings, or by shield budding, side veneer grafting, or air layering.
Nursery grown trees are usually transplanted during the early rainy season. If kept until the second rainy season, the plants must be cut back and the taproot trimmed. Spacing may be 33 to 65 ft (10 20 m) between trees each way, depending on the fertility of the soil. With sufficient water and regular weeding, the seedlings will reach 2 ft (60 cm) the first year and 4 ft (120 cm) by the second year.
Mexican studies reveal that the fruits begin to dehydrate 203 days after fruit set, losing approximately 1/2 moisture up to the stage of full ripeness, about 245 days from fruit set. In Florida, Central America, and the West Indies, the flowers appear in summer, the green fruits are found in December and January and ripening takes place from April through June. In Hawaii the fruits ripen in late summer and fall.
Tamarinds 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 which is left with the long, longitudinal fibers attached. In India, harvesters may merely shake the branches to cause mature fruits to fall and they leave the remainder to fall naturally when ripe. Pickers are not allowed to knock the fruits off with poles as this would damage developing leaves and flowers. To keep the fruit intact for marketing fresh, the stalks must be clipped from the branches so as not to damage the shell.
A mature tree may annually produce 330 to 500 lbs (150-225 kg) of fruits, of which the pulp may constitute 30 to 55%, the shells and fiber, 11 to 30 %, and the seeds, 33 to 40%.
30. Keeping Quality
To preserve tamarinds for future use, they may be merely shelled, layered with sugar in boxes or pressed into tight balls and covered with cloth and kept in a cool, dry place. For shipment to processors, tamarinds may be shelled, layered with sugar in barrels and covered with boiling sirup. East Indians shell the fruits and sprinkle them lightly with salt as a preservative. In Java, the salted pulp is rolled into balls, steamed and sun dried, then exposed to dew for a week before being packed in stone jars. In India, the pulp, with or without seeds and fibers may be mixed with salt (10%), pounded into blocks, wrapped in palmleaf matting, and packed in burlap sacks for marketing. To store for long periods, the blocks of pulp may be first steamed or sun dried for several days.
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