There is a tree that grows very large in Belize called the Tamarind Tree. A Belize recipe like Tamarind Juice is widely shared as getting the juice just to the right sweet and tart mixture makes all the difference in the world.
Those who love to drink Tamarind Juice drink if for various reasons. It is known in Belize for its wonderful health benefits as well as its nice refreshing drink on a hot day.
The Tamarind tree grows very large and has large pods that it produces that look much like bean pods. These pods are large and hang from the trees. Once the pods are ready for harvesting, you can literally just shake the branches of the tree and tons of pods will fall to the ground. Of course this is probably the less professionally sophisticated way of harvesting the pods, but it works for those of us who have a tree on our property and would like to partake in a wonderful natural and refreshing product. Now if you do not have your own tree, then you can always go to the market and purchase some Tamarind Pods from a local vendor.
My Aunt Jana and I sat on the porch one afternoon and prepared the Tamarind Pods for our afternoon juice. Of course this is after I spend about 30 min literally shaking her tree branches that I could reach and collecting the pods once they fell to the ground.
Aunt Jana taught me how to clean the pods, extract the seed with the pulp and then prepare it for making the Tamarind Juice. This was a great experience for me because even though I had tasted Tamarind Juice in the past, I had no idea where it came from or how to make it. And even though I have been visiting my Aunties’ farm in Belize for over 8 years, I did not even realize there was a Tamarind Tree just a few yards from the house. This is an example of all the hidden gems in Belize that are right in front of your face if you are aware of your surroundings.
Once you have the pulp extracted from the pod, you can start making your juice.
Tamarind Juice Recipe
2 Cups Tamarind Pulp
6-8 Cups of Water
½ Cup Sugar – To taste actually… We prefer to use the unbleached Belize Cane Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Slices of Lime
How to Make the Juice:
1. Once you have your pulp, add it to a mixing bowl
2. Boil half the water and pour it over the Tamarind Pulp in your mixing bowl
3. While still hot, use a spoon to break up the pulp as much as you can.
4. Let the mixture set until cool to touch – now its time to mix it
5. Using your “clean” hands, break the pulp up until its relatively smooth and distributed in the liquid. You will have both fibers and seeds in the mixture.
6. Once it is mixed well, use a fine strainer to strain the juice off of the fibers and seeds. You may need to strain it more than once to get all the juice out of the mixture.
7. Once you have strained the juice, then add the rest of the water and ingredients.
8. Mix well then chill.
9. If you want to drink it right away, then poor it over ice and enjoy.
10. Add a slice of lime to your drink if you like for another taste dimension.
You can store this juice in your refrigerator for up to 10 days.
Now it would not last that long in our refrigerator. Most likely depending on how much we made of the juice, it would be gone pretty fast as it is very yummy.
Belize Recipe Tamarind Juice Cubes – A Trick to help you DRINK MORE WATER
Another way to enjoy the Tamarind juice is to freeze the juice in ice cube trays and use the Tamarind Juice ice cubes in your water. This is a nice way to get your water hydration with a hint of Tamarind flavor. Hydration in countries such as Belize is very important so this is another way you can assure yourself you will be more motivated to drink your water.
Other Uses for Tamarind
The Tamarind Tree has many uses in addition to the wonderful edible fruit it produces. Tamarind also has traditional medicinal purposes and is a staple in India and Asia for many types of food recipes.
The wood from the tree can be used in carpentry to make furniture or wood floors with its natural and rich in the color red presentation. Tamarind is also used as a metal polish.