Tamarind is commonly used in sauces, chutneys, Worcestershire sauce, and candies. In terms of nutrition, 100 g of tamarind (about 3.5 oz) is a good source of thiamine (vitamin B1, 37% of your recommended daily allowance (RDA)), magnesium (26% RDA), iron (22% RDA), phosphorous (16% RDA), riboflavin and niacin (vitamins B2 & B3, 13% RDA each), and potassium (13% RDA).
The woman told me that in Jamaica, they break away the outer shell and suck on the sticky paste-like pulp. I bought one and tried it. It had the texture of a date, and tasted to me like sweet and sour molasses. It was very good!