Turmeric and the mysteries of the golden spice

Turmeric: The Golden Spice

Hailed as a trendy root, but once humbly thought of as the poor man’s saffron, turmeric is now glowing.

In its raw state, turmeric is a small, knotty, fingerlike rhizome resembling it’s more familiar family member, ginger.  More often than not you will find it in powdered form ranging in color from bright yellow to golden orange.

Even Kraft Macaroni & Cheese has replaced synthetic food colors Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 with turmeric as a natural, alternative coloring agent.

The real treasure in this golden spice is curcumin, the highly active yellow-colored compound found in turmeric.  In recent years, many health claims have been associated with this once infamous root of being a cure-all.  Everything from a potent anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-oxidant, to aiding in digestion, reducing joint pain, and curing many other ailments.

According to recent research the health benefits of curcumin can be increased, up to 2000%, by the addition of black pepper (piperine) when combined with fat.

How to use it:

We’ve all made that mistake in cooking when we add too much of a good thing and it completely changes the dish.  So, aside from the obvious of enhancing your homemade curry or dal how else can you use this glorious root?

Something as simple as rice takes the starring role on the dinner table when a pinch of turmeric is added while cooking, yielding a bright yellow focal point to any meal.

It can elevate your homemade chicken soup to another level by creating a savory, golden liquid 

Easily incorporated into marinades for meat and vegetables, salad dressings, smoothies, or teas. Toss it into a batch of chili or even brighten up your favorite potato salad for your next BBQ.

What it adds to a dish:

Bright yellow color and warm, peppery, earthy flavors.  Remember, when in high amounts, turmeric can be off putting by it’s bitter notes.  A small amount goes a long way.

Iced Turmeric Latte:

Either you are convinced of the beneficial properties or you are looking for something interesting for your net brunch.

We recommend this simple recipe.  

Ingredients

MAKES 1 SERVING

1 cup cashew milk
4 teaspoons finely grated fresh turmeric
2 teaspoons finely grated palm sugar or raw sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 pinches of ground cardamom
Pinch of flaky sea salt
Lemon wedge (for serving