One of Alan’s cousins had given us a bag of presents which I didn’t really get to go through until I was packing for our trip home. While most of her gifts were non-edible, she so generously included some delicious sampaloc (tamarind) preserves, much like the kind you’d buy in the corner sari-sari store. They were sweet and just tangy enough to give you that sourness you seek, but not overpowering to the palate.
When I was down to my last 5 pieces, I made a conscious effort to save the seeds to use in an experiment. I wanted to see if I can make them sprout and maybe grow a houseplant or two of sampaloc. It seemed that none of the seeds would take. I was rather optimistic because I remember how I used to throw some seeds into this little garden we had in our house in San Juan, and a few days later, I would see a seed shedding its casing and sprouting leaves.
Of all the seeds I tried to nudge into becoming a plant, only one (!) actually took root. I have transplated it into a terra cotta square mini-pot, and every day, I marvel at how it visibly grows a few millimeters taller. I just checked it tonight and there it was, standing proud on my kitchen window sill. No leaves have sprouted from between the two pods that used to form its seed, but its stem is strong and healthy and it keeps growing.
I’m not growing this seedling with the hope of growing my own sampaloc to use for cooking. I’m just trying to nurture something out of nothing — and hopefully add to the much needed greening of my co-op unit. My herbs are doing great.. by next week I will transplant them into a single pot. My sampaloc seedling, meanwhile, can stay put where I’ve placed it. It should have enough room for another 4-6 weeks when I will find it a bigger home.. eventually.