A fine dust wafts up from the hard-packed Caribbean ground - it has not rained for what seems an eternity. The tamarind pod is smooth, brittle to the touch; inside the pasty flesh clings tightly to the hardened dark-brown seeds. Pressed to the lips, the tangy taste reminds one that life remains in spite of the oppressive drought. Originating in India, but firmly entrenched in the Americas, the tamarindís sweet and sour favor is used as a refreshing drink, a spicy candy, and as the base of chutneys and Worchester sauce. It is a flavor that speaks to the tropics.
Tamarind is well suited to home garden production in South Florida. It makes an attractive accent tree. Tamarind needs full sun and will grow to a height of 30 feet. It will begin to fruit in three to four years. Seedlings from sweet Thai tamarinds should yield extremely sweet, acidless fruit.