Tamarinds   Leave a comment

Tamarind pack b

In February 2016, I needed some tamarind paste for a curry recipe and could only find a block of compressed, dried pulp that resembled a plug of chewing tobacco in shape, texture, and smell.  To use it, you soak it in boiling water then after awhile pass the pulp through a fine meshed sieve.  I took some of the seeds from this step, wrapped them in wet paper towels, and stored them under the sink.  After checking on them every other day for a couple of weeks, I forgot about them until I needed some harsh cleaning compound or another mid-May.  The little tub I had them in had a large, pale green sprout inside so I packed it with compost and staked it up and in a couple weeks it grew leaves and started to get a woody bark to it.

Growth was slow after that but on the day after the Brexit vote a second sprout emerged:

2016-06-24 Tamarinds A

 

The guys survived the move and transplantation to a larger pot (which I let dry completely from September till Christmas before soaking it once then adding 50mL twice per week to simulate 15 inches of rainfall per year.  They seemed happy enough through that first winter, and I doubled the watering rate leading up to February to celebrate the 1 year anniversary.

One thing that did happen over the Christmas break was fungal growth.  I’m assured that it is harmless, this white mould atop the soil, but I was disgusted by it and also a bit insulted that it thinks I should nourish it as well as my little tree.  After looking at other remedies (cider vinegar, baking soda, athlete’s foot spray), I settled on scooping away the offensive layer then dusting the remaining soil surface with cinnamon (cinnamic aldehyde, the main flavouring compound, is also an effective fungicide).

2017-01-08-tamarind-cinnamon-treatment

So, here we are at one full year.  It hasn’t grown much in the kitchen window and a couple of weeks ago we shifted it to the bathroom where there is even less direct light and it is warmer and much more humid.  New leaves are emerging and I think it may deserve repotting to a shallow tray and training in the spring.  I’ve seen some spectacular examples of bonsai tamarinds, and maybe in 5-10 years this pair can join their ranks.

2017-02-02-tamarind

 

 

 

 

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Posted February 2, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Food

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