Wednesday, July 20, 2011
The tamarind is believed to be a native of tropical Africa and perhaps southern Asia, where it has long been popular.
Seeds are reported from the early historic site of Ter in Maharashtra. Wood charcoal identifications of tamarind come from Narhan (c. 1300 BC) in the Ganges valley, a region where it is more likely to be planted rather than occur naturally.
The cultivation of tamarind in Egypt by 400 BC has been documented and it was mentioned in the Indian Brahmasamhita Scriptures between 1200 - 200 BC.
Tamarind-pulp was first used in medicine by the Arabian physicians and was brought from the East-Indies, where the plant is named in the Hindee language ‘Tamari hindi’ or Indian date.
The tamarind does not appear to have been known to the ancient Greeks; at least no mention is made of it in their writings.
It would have been the Arabs who first brought tamarind across the Persian Gulf form India, influencing the cooking of the southeast of Iran, the Gulf region, and Egypt. Some of the best recipes using tamarind are found in the coastal regions of the Gulf.
It was early introduced into tropical America and from there was probably brought to Hawaii.
The first reference to tamarind in the Americas is from Acapulco (Mexico) in 1615, suggesting that it may have arrived from Asia across the pacific with Spanish.
From Mexico, tamarind was probably introduced throughout tropical America and the Caribbean Islands.
One of the fruit tamarind tress in Hawaii was planted in 1797 by Don Marin at Little Greenwich in Pauoa Valley,
Tamarind was important item of diet of sailors in olden times as its acid and sugar content helped them to offset their starchy diet.
History of tamarind
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