South Indian Forest Tamarind (in Diaspora Co. x PODI life spice kits)
The tamarind used in the Diaspora Co. x PODI life collab spice kit is fresh Tamarind pulp, from the Krishnagiri District of the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu, sourced by Parvathi Menon of Pushkara farms. This region is known for its pulpy and pungent Tamarind, and the trees are found largely in the wild, spread across the unique terrain that combines the edge of the rocky Deccan Plateau and the abundantly green Western Ghats.
The typical season for the tamarind fruit to be harvested is from late February to mid-April. The fruits are then sun-dried, shelled, deseeded. While the tree fruits each year, it produces larger quantities every alternate year.
Tamil Nadu accounts for the largest production of Tamarind in India and India on the whole is the world's largest producer of tamarind with an average production of about 2 million tonnes per year.
This Tamarind is the most natural, grown-in-the-wild, forest Tamarind, from trees that are all easily more than 30-40 years old.
This forest is a natural habitat for elephants and birds like parrots that feed on Tamarind. Pushkara farm is surrounded by forest areas, and they often get elephants cutting through the fields between November and February, their regular migration period.
Tamarind pulp in prolifically used in South Indian cuisine, almost every farmstead will tend to have at least one Tamarind tree of their own, along with one Moringa tree and Curry Leaf plants. Together, these herbs and fruit are iconic in South Indian cuisine!
Processing note: We partially sun-dried this tamarind in Southern Georgia sun and then dehydrated this tamarind in our commercial kitchen and powdered it into a delicious Tamarind powder and then incorporated this into the spice kits.
Tamarind brings an essential tart flavor to rasam and sambar!
For the inquisitive cook:
Tamarind is a very common souring/acid agent in South Indian cooking. Also used in Thai and Mexican cooking.
Here's a little chart of other souring agents commonly found in various cuisines of the world.