Jamaican Tamarind balls are a simple Caribbean candy that are easy to make and were a joy to eat growing up. The best part about these candies is that they are made only from the flesh of fruit and added sugar. There are no colors, no added flavors and no preservatives in these. While they are not necessarily healthy, they are far healthier than anything you can find on a shelf.
What’s also great about Jamaican tamarind balls is that you can also easily make them yourself whenever you run out. In Jamaica we make them from sour tamarind pods, sugar and a tiny bit of rum. In other islands, people also flavor them with pepper and/or green seasoning.
Tools you will need:
- Small bowl
- Pair of gloves
- 1 ½ cups sour tamarind pods
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp white rum
- 3 tbsps white granulated sugar
- Strip tamarind from the pods and discard the shells. Remove the linked vein that runs through the center of the pods and holds them together. Place the tamarind flesh in a small bowl.
- Add a ¼ of the brown sugar to the pods and use a glove covered hand to massage the sugar into the tamarind flesh. As you massage the flesh, the tamarind will begin to come together in a ball.
- Continue to add the sugar in portions while massaging the tamarind in between adding the sugar. This will ensure that the sugar sticks to the tamarind flesh. Before adding the last portion of sugar, add in the rum and massage it into the tamarind. As you massage the flesh of the tamarind, some of the seeds may fall out. This is okay. Discard the seeds that fall out and leave the ones that are intact.
- Once all of the sugar is added to the fruit, pinch off the amount of flesh in the size that you desire. Gently roll the flesh in the palms of your hands into a ball. Place white sugar on a plate and roll the balls in the white sugar to lightly coat the outside.
- To store, place in a sandwich bag and keep in a cool dry place.