What do my favorite sinigang, spicy sampalok candy and the ash used to de-hair goatskins have in common? They come from the surprisingly versatile tamarind tree. I kid you not, ash from tamarind wood is used to tan leather and de-hair goatskinsâ€¦howâ€™s that for trivia? And you can read more at the Purdue University website. Yesterday I was out at the beach, feeling a little bit â€œredneckâ€ like so I put on my plaid lumberjack shirt, a hat to conceal my thinning hair from the noonday sun, grabbed myself a large chainsaw and went out back and made me a chopping board out of a fallen sampalok treeâ€¦nothing to it. Heeheehee. It is photographed above under my Global chefâ€™s knife with cool dotted handleâ€¦
We had a couple of nice sampalok (tamarind) trees behind our property but apparently one fell over the day before I got to the beach and it severely damaged some of our other trees and nearly cracked our wall. After using the chainsaw to slice off a nice chunk of trunk, the bark was chipped off the edges and after some drying in the hot sun and some sanding (if you prefer it extra smooth) I have a terrific chopping board that is natural, made from a naturally felled tree, heavy, hard, durable and bug resistant. And no, I didnâ€™t really do it myself, the roving groundskeepers did all the actual work in exchange for a large plastic bottle of Diet Coke (gross taste) and a generous tipâ€¦ I would probably chop off my own foot if I operated a chainsaw!
If you donâ€™t fancy power tools and have difficulty locating a newly fallen mature sampalok tree, you may want to head over towards the Batangas City port as there are dozens of vendors on the roadside selling sampalok wood products. At the Saturday Salcedo market, I purchased this huge wide flat cutting board (here under my irregular natural specimen) that seemed like a deal at PHP600. I have only had it one month and it is cracking. My sister bought a bigger one from the same stall and hers is molding. I donâ€™t think it was properly dried. Worse, I think it is cut against or with the grain (whichever means not like disks out of the trunk) and that is causing some funny movement in the wood as it driesâ€¦I would say avoid this vendor until those kinks are worked out. At any rate, tamarind wood cutting boards are extremely durable and useful. Tamarind wood is also used for mortar and pestles, tool handles, boat decking, etc.