Saturday, July 28, 2012

Sweetish sour wonder in Tamarind tree!

Nowadays, whenever I look at a particular tree species my mouth waters - the past experience with tasting of its fruits influences me like this! But in my childhood days I used to look at these trees with fear - as the elders had told stories about ghosts that hang upside down on them! This tree is nothing but our
Tamarind tree (Tamarindus indica, 'Pulia maram' in Tamil). Though it is native to Africa it is found in many countries from Asia to America. Here in Tamil Nadu, India, it is found as avenue trees and all along the state roadways.
They are also grown in groves ('Pulianthoppu' in Tamil). It gives shadow to all including animals, to take rest at sunny afternoons.

The tree bears fruits that are pod-like and are brown. The seeds inside the fruit pulp are dark brown and are used by children in games as coins. The fruit in all its various stages of ripening is edible. Small tender ones are mildly sour and are eaten whole as such; the next younger pod has a fleshy yellowish pulp like that of apple but of more sour nature. The matured fruit has brown shell with shrunken brownish pulp inside

that has now become more sweeter. Tender leaves and the yellowish red flowers are also munched for their acidic flavour. The pulp ('Puli' in Tamil) is used in various gravies here like Rasam, Sambar and chutney. It is also a constituent of a sweetish sour drink ('Panagreagam' in Tamil) that is offered to the Goddess Mariamman during festivals. As one can find all its uses in making various cuisines throughout the world, it is also used in many medicinal preparations. In my school days I used its high acid content to clean and make the silver and brass articles shine bright by applying it on them. The tamarind tree is drought resistant and grows even along coastal areas that have salty soil.
Its slender twigs were then used at schools for giving corporal punishment to the mischievous students - the pain from it invariably reformed them.
This tamarind tree is a wonderful tree with all its uses to all from children to elders!

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...