The Generous Tamarind Tree

Couple days ago a family of tamarind harvesters asked my mother if they could harvest our tamarind fruits.  They’d buy the fruits but they’d also climb the tree.  It’s a family of 6–the parents plus 4 children.  The oldest child in tow, about 12 years old is also a tree climber like his father.  The rest of the kids are 6, 5 and a 2-year old.


The harvesters climbed the 40′ tree so effortlessly.  And because the fruits are mostly at the end of the branches, they had to go as close as possible at the end of the branches.

magoes,tamarind,kids 076 (533x800)           magoes,tamarind,kids 037 (800x533)


They harvested about 2 large sacks.

magoes,tamarind,kids 045


They only took the green tamarind and left us the ripe ones.  The following day, there were just too much sampalok and I didn’t want to give them away.  So, I made jam.

tamarind jam

Here’s how to make the sampalok jam:



2 kilos ripe tamarind, peeled and deveined

1 liter filtered water

1 1/2 kilos washed sugar

1 tbsp sea salt


Braise cleaned tamarind until pulp has disintegrated.  Using a strainer with large holes (colander is ok), ladle solid tamarind particles and push through sieve.  Discard solids.  All these can be done over the pot/kawali/vat.  Over medium heat, add sugar and salt, stir and reduce until mixture covers the back of the spoon.  Mixture should just be right–not too thick, not too runny.  When jam cools down, it’ll become thicker.

Pour hot tamarind jam directly from the stove to clean canning jars or any contraption you may want to store this in.  Pasteurization is necessary if you’re planning on storing this for a year–just follow canning instructions.  Otherwise, keep it on a tight-lid container and store in the fridge.   Enjoy with a piece of toast or a hot pandesal, or as an accoutrement for Manchego slices.

When life gives you tamarinds, make a sensational Sampalok Jam!

sampalokjam 019



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