How long does Tamarind last?

You must have heard of tamarind, but do you know anything about this versatile fruit? You may not know it, but you have probably eaten tamarind before. It’s used a lot in Indian cuisine and uses a myriad of products to give the sweet, sour unique flavor only tamarind has.

But is tamarind a delicate fruit and needs special care to make it last?

Did you know that tamarind can be used as a medicine to settle stomach issues? You can find fresh tamarind in your grocery store from April to July, or you can buy it in a puree or powdered form.

You may not know much about tamarind, but you will certainly know if it is left out of your food. This aromatic fruit is incredible, and in this article, we will let you know if tamarind can be stirred in the fridge and how to take care of it to get the best from this fruit.

Let’s get into it

Does tamarind expire?

Tamarind is an unusual fruit, its pod! It falls from huge trees and has an incredible flavor. When it is not ripe, it will make your mouth pucker, and when it is ripe, it has a deep sweetness. It’s known as the Indian date but is not related to the date family.

But it does indeed expire, and the expiry date depends on how the fruit is stored. You may have guessed if it is called the Indian date that it possibly lasts for some time.

Tamarinds have a brittle, hard shell, and it’s normal to see tamarind pods on the ground in major thoroughfares through Malaysia, South East Asia, and even Africa.

If you put a tamarind pod in the fridge, it will last for a long time, it lasts for a long time laying on the ground, but when it is ripe, it is mushy. To retrieve the tamarind from the pod, you can place a small spoon and scrape it out.

To be thoughtful, this is not how tamarind is used when cooking, and it may be a novelty and talking point to pull out a tamarind pod and wax lyrical about how great they are, but you should buy tamarind already prepared.

Tamarind has a long shelf life of around 18 months and maybe longer if you can resist putting this yummy condiment in your recipes.

It is nonsense if you read that tamarinds have a short shelf life. Clearly, the person espousing this garbage would know tamarind if it dripped on their head.

Processing tamarinds at home is a chore you don’t want to get into. You will be manually extracting the juice of the tamarind and then the pulp, it’s labor intensive, and you can achieve the same thing by visiting your local grocery store.

So for the sake of accuracy, throwing a fresh tamarind pod in the fridge will keep it good for three months. If it is not ripe, it will still be there in six months.

Throw it in the backyard on the grass, and it will be good in one month.

Does tamarind need to be refrigerated?

Only if it has been opened, if you have a block of tamarind wrapped correctly, it will last at room temperature for months. It almost has an indefinite shelf life. Storing a block of tamarind in the fridge will not extend the shelf life and may reduce it in some cases. 

Your fridge can be a wet environment. The door opens multiple times daily, letting warm air into the fridge that condenses and coalesces, forming water droplets.

If you get dry tamarind wet, it could form a mold which would render the tamarind garbage.

If you have a jar of tamarind paste that has been opened it should be stored in the refrigerator. The jar of tamarind has a long shelf life of 18 months and more if stored correctly. This can make it challenging to know when the tamarind is coining to the end of its life.  

If you use tamarind infrequently, it is worth checking the jar periodically to see if it is still ok, with no mold or funky snells or colors.

How long can tamarind sit out?

Two hours an open jar of tamarind can stay out for two hours. Any food sitting out for two hours should be considered as being overloaded with bacteria and not fit for consumption.

There may be some Asian die-hards who would disagree with this, but in the interest of food safety, it’s advisable to follow the general guidelines of the USDA.

It seems sensible to take a cautious approach when there is a lack of information readily available.

Does unopened tamarind go bad?

No, Unopened tamarind has an indefinite shelf life for all intents and purposes. A tamarind block is an essential preserved fruit. It will last indefinitely if it is kept wrapped and in a cool, dry place.

Sealed jars may have a best-before date, but essentially until they are opened, they also have an extremely long shelf life.

How long do tamarinds last in the fridge?

If you have tamarind pods, you can keep them easily in the fridge for three months, but the length that they stay in the fridge will depend on the state of ripeness. Ripe tamarind pods last a long time.

But if you need a figure, it is three months. A tamarind block does not need to be stored in the fridge. It’s a preserved fruit and will not go bad unless something unmentionable happens.

An open jar of tamarind paste will last 18 months in the fridge. It may last longer.

Does frozen tamarind go bad?

Tamarind pods frozen will last as long as in the freezer. It is an incredible fruit, and freezing for years without degradation to the flavor and texture of this fruit is a testament to just how unique it is.

Store tamarind pods in an airtight container, and wrap them in foil to make a parcel. This will help to prevent freezer burn.

Although tamarind pods can be frozen for years, the tamarind pulp from a jar does not freeze exceptionally well and has a short life in the freezer of just 3 to 4 months. Considering it lasts 18 months in the jar, it seems futile to try to freeze it.

Why are some tamarind pastes darker than others?

Its ripeness and darker tamarind paste is not a bad thing. It should be sweeter to the taste, and that does not mean it’s bad.

Is it safe to eat raw tamarind?

Yes. Tamarind is popular and can be eaten raw if ripe. Unripe tamarind has an astringent effect on the mouth and makes you pucker and squint. The combination of both is delightful.

Throughout Asia and the Middle East, you can buy tamarind candy, it is typically coated with sugar, but it’s delicious and moreish.

How do you know if tamarind has gone bad?

Fresh tamarind will lose its flavor profile and can still be cooked if wanted, but it will do nothing for the dish.

Tamarind should not be over-chewy. If it is, it’s a sign that it is beyond its best and should be replaced.

Tamarind paste in jars can develop mold when opened, depending on the environment where they have been stirred. If your tamarind paste has molded, it should be discarded.

If tamarind looks funky or has an odor not associated with tamarind, it’s safe to say it’s reached the end of its life and should be tossed in the garbage.

How do you process fresh tamarind at home?

Remove the tamarind from the pods, take half a handful, and place it in a small mixing bowl. Add warm water but not too much, so the tamarind is swimming. The water will be the base of the paste, so add it sparingly.

The tamarind will partially dissolve in the warm water. You will need to massage the tamarind between your fingers until you have a paste consistency.

Remove the pulp from the paste and discard. The process takes less than 5 minutes.

What happens if I eat tamarind every day?

Tamarind will boost your immunity. It’s rich in vitamin C and is high in antioxidants. Tamarind is rich in fiber and will undoubtedly affect constipation.

Some studies show tamarind is effective for weight loss. But you should be aware that tamarind can cause low blood pressure and is unsuitable for people with diabetes.

But as with everything, moderation is the key to enjoying tamarind.

Final thoughts

Tamarind is an ornamental tree that grows to enormous proportions, but it produces one of the most intriguing fruits you could imagine. The taste is hard to describe other than the bitter-sweet but in the nicest possible way.

Despite everything written about these fruits, tamarind has a long shelf life. It can withstand the rigors of the freezer indefinitely and can last in the fridge for a few months.

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