Tamarind is an acidic sweet-like flavor with a sweet scent. Although not very sweet in taste, it goes great in a variety of desserts and candies, not to mention the many recipes from around the globe.
Tamarind has its peak flavor when eaten within one week after harvest. If the fresh pods are set at room temperature, they will only last a week or less, depending on how hot the weather is.
Tamarind may be challenging to find where you are in the world. Thus, making it critical to know how to properly store your tamarind before allowing it to spoil.
There are a variety of ways you can store fresh tamarind and tips to follow with store-bought types. Below are the top 10 Tips to easily and effectively store tamarind:
1. Refrigerate tamarind paste
Refrigerating your tamarind product can help maintain the freshness and stabilize the product.
Most tamarind products you purchase from a store will highly recommend placing your open container in the refrigerator to maintain freshness. Your product will last approximately for up to three months only if stored in an airtight container.
Take every precaution beforehand by limiting the number of microbes grown and the rate at which they grow.
If it did not come in a glass jar, make sure you use a vacuum food sealer for the most freshness or a Ziploc and press as much air out of the bag as possible.
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2. Freeze the paste
Freezing is another excellent option for storing your tamarind. Not only for freshly made tamarind but also for store-bought varieties.
Freezing can keep tamarind paste fresh for up to three to four months. If you purchased your tamarind frozen, this is the only option to save the remaining amount of tamarind to ensure freshness.
Once you place the thawed tamarind in the refrigerator, it won’t take long for it to begin to spoil. If you have the whole pods, wrapping them and freezing them in a freezer Ziploc will keep the freshness indefinitely.
Another great way to store your frozen tamarind place is by portioning the tamarind into ice cube trays so that when ready to use, you defrost what is necessary, and it makes it easy to utilize.
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3. Use Glass Containers to Prevent Microbe Growth
A very popular way many manufacturers package their tamarind paste is in a glass container. It is a common container since glass containers do react with the food product in them, and they also help to prevent the growth of mold or other contaminants.
If you decide to tear apart the tamarind into chunks, you can place them into a glass container with enough water to just barely cover the tamarind pieces.
After, place it in the refrigerator, and you will see that the tamarind will be soft the following day. It will be ready to use and easy to get out the amount you need for your recipe. It is suggested never to store the homemade paste in anything but glass containers.
Plastic has many chemicals that can begin to leach into the tamarind paste, and because tamarind has an acidic flavor to it, it is common for this to occur. The taste and freshness also diminish more quickly when stored in a plastic container.
4. Preserve Tamarind with Salt
There is a way to preserve your tamarind with the simple salt ingredient. This salt method has been used for centuries and continues to be used in areas where refrigeration may be challenging to find.
This Is a great way to preserve without a refrigerator or freezer by drying the tamarind using salt. It works best with fresh unshelled pods that have been cleaned and squeezed dried.
Form a ball and roll them into salt. Store the tamarind in an airtight container or glass jar.
If you choose this method, be sure to follow a recipe, so you do not add too much salt because once you are ready to use it, you do not want an overly salty tamarind paste in your dessert.
Related: Does Tamarind Paste Have Soy?
5. Follow the Manufacturer’s Directions
Almost all store-bought varieties of tamarind paste will give you the best directions on storing unopened or opened products. Every manufacturer may have their own suggestions on how to store their product.
Most often than not, after opening a store-bought variety, they will suggest placing it in the refrigerator, and unopened varieties should be stored in a cool dark place like in a pantry.
Please pay attention to where you picked the product from, whether it was the freezer aisle, condiments, or dried bins; keep the product stored the same way it was kept at the store.
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6. Store Dry Pods at Room Temperature to Prolong Shelf Life
Some people choose to purchase whole dried pods so that they have tamarind on hand when they are ready to make a paste or concentrate.
The whole pods are best stored in a cool, dark place at room temperature. If you have pods that have opened or ones you opened without using them all, you can wrap them tightly and store them in a container placed in the refrigerator.
Once in the fridge under these conditions, the pods will last for three months.
7. Boil Tamarind to Kill Bacteria That Could Cause Spoilage
There are several ways to make tamarind paste, and the more straightforward option is to allow the pads to absorb the pods overnight.
Still, there is a more straightforward way to assist in killing off bacteria or other harmful microbes.
By mashing the pods and placing them in a pot with water, you can slowly boil them for around four to five minutes as it slowly kills off bacteria and creates a paste.
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8. Use Zip-Locs to Seal Moisture
If you find yourself in a bind and you have used some of your frozen tamarinds to reseal, you can use a Ziploc as a last resort.
As stated before, plastic is not the best solution for storing your fresh tamarind paste, but freezer bags are a great way to seal the freshness, and the zip locks help prevent freezer burn.
Using freezer Ziplocs also is useful if you have frozen tamarind broken into easy-to-access pieces. Once you take out what you need, you can just seal it back up quickly and press as much air as you can.
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9. Do Some Canning for Better Shelf-Life
Canning is another preservation method that many people have used for years. Canning is the process of sealing food in cans or tins to preserve it.
Many people with farms and food gardens use this method when they have an abundance of items. You can use this method for tamarind paste.
The process is slightly simple if you have the patience and time. It is a great way to preserve your tamarind paste.
Place two to three inches of water using a canner, set your jars of tamarind concentrate, or paste onto the rack in the canner. Close the vent and follow the specific directions for tamarind paste; it will vary on the time the cans spend in the canner.
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10. Properly Dry Tamarind Pods
Drying out your tamarind pods can add months to their shelf life. Some simply place the tamarind out on a table for two days to be dried out and eventually ready to be used right out of the pods.
Another great way to dry out the tamarind pods yet requires a little more equipment is using a dehydrator.
Since the pods are dried out, you can store them in a Ziploc, and the shelf life can range anywhere from 6 to eight months, depending on how often the bag is opened.
Once the pods are dried, there are several options on how they can be used. They can be rehydrated by soaking them in water, you can also boil them in water, and another great option is to grind them down into a powder.
Once they are dry, you also have the option to remove the shell to expose the fruit. The shell will easily break away once it is dried out.
This option is great if you found a great price on bulk tamarind pods, or maybe you just bought more than you can use at one time.
Whatever the reason, this is always a great way since it is inexpensive and does not require fancy equipment.
The way to preserve your tamarind paste, concentrate, or pods are not limited to this list. There are so many creative and innovative ways out there.
Our list provides the basic options and tips to use when handling your tamarind. Take every precaution when storing and preserving the freshness of your tamarind.
Since it is a fruit, the likelihood of it growing bacteria or losing its freshness is high; take every step to either preserve or make a paste as you need it.
Always remember the simple tips to keep it fresh, seal it in an airtight glass container, and place it in the fridge once opened. These are the simplest to remember when dealing with store-bought or homemade paste.
Remember to look for pods with no mold or discoloration for dried varieties before drying and sealing in a Ziploc.
Choose your sources wisely and handle them with care to never be without the tamarind you need for your recipes.