Tamarindo and Jamaica

Over at my friend Blanca’s house the other day, I was offered a glass of tamarindo and accepted.  I was familiar with the fruit, had eaten it on occasion at a friend’s or as a snack, spiced with chili.  I like it’s tangy, sweet/sour taste.  I was hoping my glass was made from actual tamarind, not just sugar and artificial flavors, as most of the commercial brands are.  Two very different things!

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I was lucky that Blanca’s husband felt the same and requested only the real stuff.  She walked me through the process so I could make it at home, and explained how it has diuretic properties and is good for dieting.

“If you like tamarindo, I bet you would like jamaica (pronouned ha-my-ka).”  I was not familiar with the word, but when she pulled out some hibiscus flowers, I knew.  I tasted one and it had a very similar tanginess.

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The following day I took a bike ride to my local Latino mercado and stocked up on both.  I have my tamarind soaking;  it should be ready this evening to make into the drink, and the jamaica flowers just need some boiling water added to steep like tea.

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recipe for tamarindo drink

If you bought whole tamarind, remove outer shell.  Place tamarind pulp into bowl and cover with warm water.  Cover and set aside for 24 hours.  Remove cover, stir up a bit, add more water, and let sit another 24 hours(optional-can just cover with boiling water and let sit for 24 hrs).

This next part gets a little messy.  Dip your hands into the bowl and pop out the seeds from the pulp.  Strain fruit and liquid through a fine sieve, pressing as much pulp through as you can.  Add water and sugar to taste.

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Categories: nutrition

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One Comment on “Tamarindo and Jamaica”

  1. Stef Alonso
    March 3, 2009 at 12:59 am #

    This drink is no secret to me. When I visit my home country of Belize, which is located in Central America, I always request this drink. It is deliciouso, to say the least. I just love the rich flavor. I have never made it here, in the states, but have purchased it with plans to make my own drink. I guess now I will.
    Thanks for reminding me.

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