Tamarind Sweets

Ready for a sticky, sweet sugary snack? Be sure to try the tamarind sweets available from street vendors!
It’s tamarind season, so you know what that means; you guessed it, lot and lots of tamarind treats are now available. This week, we feature the “tamarind sweets” made locally, this treat is especially yummy whether it is served sweet or sour. Among others, these one-of-akind snacks can be found at the street stalls of San Pedro.

The fruit is, as the name suggests, a sweet variety of a fruit generally associated with an acid taste. After being peeled it is generally eaten fresh, though soaked in water it also makes a refreshing juice. Other, more sour varieties of tamarind are used in various cooked dishes for flavoring. The food uses of the tamarind are many. The tender, immature, very sour pods are cooked as seasoning with rice, fish and meats in some places. The fullygrown, but still unripe fruits, called “swells” in the Bahamas, are roasted in coals until they burst and the skin is then peeled back and the sizzling pulp dipped in wood ashes and eaten. In Belize, the fully ripe, fresh fruit is relished out-ofhand by children and adults, alike. The shell lifts readily from the pulp and the lengthwise fibers are removed by holding the stem with one hand and slipping the pulp downward with the other. The pulp is made into a variety of products; sugared and sour tamarind sweets are often prepared as a confection. If ripe, fresh, un-dehydrated tamarinds are available; this may be done by pressing the shelled and de-fibered fruits through a colander while adding powdered sugar to the point where the pulp no longer sticks to the fingers. The seeded pulp is then shaped into balls and coated with powdered sugar.

Another way it is prepared here in Belize is with salt, pepper and sugar which makes for a sour and spicy treat. This way, the tamarind is mixed with the ingredients and is usually bagged and sold as is. This candy (tamarind sweet) is famously rich with its natural taste and makes for a ‘must try’ for the next time you visit the local stalls. The sweet or sour treats are easy to make and is very yummy for the whole family to devour. Purchase them at your local fruit and veggie stand in Ambergris Caye, try them today!

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