Tamarind is a tropical fruit native to India. It has a long, oblong shape and a thick, brown skin when ripe. The flesh of the fruit is soft and has a sour, sweet flavor. It surrounds a large, hard seed in the center. Tamarind is often used in cooking, as it is a popular ingredient in sauces, marinades, and beverages. It is also a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, calcium, and iron. When ripe, the fruit will yield to slight pressure and have a slightly sour aroma. It can be stored at room temperature until it is ripe, and then refrigerated until it is ready to be eaten.