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Benefits of Tamarind
Tamarind is a slow growing tropical evergreen tree native to tropical Africa, and grows in India and Mexico as well. The origins of the word tamarind mean the date of India. The mature tamarind tree can grow to 80 feet high in tropical, humid climates. It bears long brownish pods that have acidic pulp and hard seeds. Tamarind is an ingredient in many forms of Asian and Latin American drinks, dishes, snacks and candies, as well as medicines and herbal treatments.
2. Tamarind Tree
The Tamarind tree, is related to carob. It grows wild in its native tropical Africa, but is grown extensively in India, Costa Rica and Thailand for its fruit pods, flowers, leaves and wood. The tamarind tree grows slowly, gets very tall and lives a very long time.
3. Tamarind Fruit
The fruit of the tamarind tree grows in a long brown pod. It has sour fleshy brownish reddish pulp with many seeds. The fruit pulp has vitamin B and calcium and tastes fruity, sweet and sour. The fruit is used in many ways to flavor dishes, as sauce or chutney, as a souring flavoring, with sugar added as a dried fruit candy and powdered or fresh squeezed for refreshing drinks.
4. Medicinal Uses
Tamarind has medicinal as well as culinary uses. It is a natural mild laxative, and is eaten fresh or in dried form to relieve constipation. Steam from boiling tamarind when inhaled will bring some relief from congestion and breathing problems. Gargling with tamarind water will relieve a sore throat. Because it is very acidic, it has antiseptic properties and is used to reduce fever.
Tamarind is used in many culinary preparations, from drinks, to sauces, jams and chutneys, to side and main dishes.A simple drink recipe for a delicious summer agua fresca de tamarindo calls for 1 lb. of tamarind pulp with seeds, 1 gallon of water and 1 cup of sugar. Put the pulp and water in a large cooking pot and bring to a boil. Cook over medium heat for 30 minutes, stirring and breaking up the pulp. Strain out the pulp and seeds, add sugar, and chill before serving with ice and garnished with orange or lemon fruit slices.
6. Tamarind in the Kitchen
Tamarind is a staple and a favorite in Mexican, Latin American, Indian and Asian kitchens and restaurants. It is kept as a paste for cooking and making drinks, to make a natural unprocessed candy, for folk remedies to treat mild conditions and as a fresh fruit to be enjoyed in many ways.
7. Selection and storage
Fresh tamarind pods are available in late spring and early summer seasons. However, several different forms of processed tamarind such as compressed tamarind blocks, ready to use slice, paste, concentrates, balls, etc. are made available in the markets.
8. Culinary uses
Tamarind is used as an antiseptic to heal wounds and to prevent infections from spreading in the body.
9. Bilious disorders
Tamarind is an effective cure for bilious disorders. it plays an indirect yet very important role in controlling the cholesterol levels in the body. Dietary fibres in tamarind binds to bile salts formed from cholesterol and decrease its re absorption. This helps excrete bad cholesterol and keeps your heart healthy.
Tamarind mixes well in herbal tea and is used for treating malaria fever.
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