Tamarind is in. Already a staple in Latin and Asian kitchens, the tart and tangy pods are reportedly trending up with shoppers nationwide with the rising popularity of agua fresca (a fruit-infused beverage) and Indian cuisine. “Tart tamarind is not only an everyday item in Hispanic market areas, both ‘agua fresca’ and ‘tamarind’ have been trending up steadily in Google Trends, especially during the summer months,” said Alex Jackson Berkley, assistant sales manager at Frieda’s Specialty Produce. “This is in line with what we’re seeing with consumer trends on Indian flavors and fruit-infused or flavored water.”
Frieda’s works with its growing partner in Thailand to bring in volume of the tart tamarind, which is currently shipping nationwide. “Retailers caught on to the tamarind trend last year when we started importing directly and they are now taking advantage of our strong source of supply with our 10 lb. pack and our 12/12 oz. clamshell,” said Berkley. According to Frieda’s, its clamshell is the first package on the market to educate consumers on how to use tamarind. America’s diverse population is familiar with this item, however there is more to learn about how to use this versatile tropical fruit.
Tart tamarind is used for cooking all across the world including Indian and Southeast Asian cuisines. Chefs have also been featuring the unique flavor in glazes, sauces, and cocktails. In Latin America, the tart tamarind is used in candies, popsicles, and agua de tamarindo, a refreshing beverage made with tamarind pulp and sugar.