Turmeric: The Wonder Spice

Like ginger, turmeric, the unassuming root with color so vibrant you suddenly have an urge to hand-dye fabric, is said to be one of the world’s healthiest spices.

Turmeric isn’t a new ingredient on the culinary scene. Most of us probably have a jar sitting at the back of the cupboard, which is occasionally called upon to cautiously season a curry. However, this household spice has recently been rediscovered because of its incredible health benefits, and it’s even found a niche in the beauty world. Read on to discover the benefits of turmeric and just what the heck you can do with it.

What is it?

Turmeric is a root that was used predominantly in the south and Southeast Asia for thousands of years. Not only was it a staple part of the Asian diet but it was used extensively in their healthcare, too. It’s been around in Britain since the 13th century.

Why is it great?

Curcumin, one of the active ingredients in turmeric, has been shown to be a powerful antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal properties. Studies suggest it may help reduce the risk of digestive problems, heart disease, and even Alzheimer’s disease.

 

The most common forms of Turmeric:

Raw Turmeric Root – Fresh turmeric is quite bitter, but has a brighter…fresher flavor than its dried counterpart, and is almost a little bit citrusy. You can treat it almost the same way you would treat fresh ginger: Peel it, then slice, mince, or grate it to your heart’s content. Fresh turmeric is less potent than the dried stuff, so if you’re using fresh in a recipe that calls for dried, you’ll have to use about four times as much.

Ground Turmeric – Turmeric is most commonly sold in a dried and powdered form; find this in our Bulk Foods section. Dried and powdered, it’s easy to mix into marinades or spice rubs, or sizzled with aromatics like onions and garlic as the base of a soup or stew.

 

Easy Ways to Eat & Drink Turmeric:

  1. Add it to egg scrambles, frittatas or quiches: Use a pinch of turmeric in your morning breakfast eggs. If you’re new to using this spice, it’s a great way to ease into turmeric without overdoing it.
  2. Toss with roasted vegetables: Easy peasy! Sprinkle this wonder spice over cauliflower, potatoes and root vegetables for a warm and peppery flavor.
  3. Add to rice: A dash of turmeric brings color and a mild, peppery flavor to a pot of plain rice.
  4. Sprinkle on greens: Sprinkle a little bit of turmeric into sauteed greens. Think kale, collards, cabbage or chard.
  5. Blend into a smoothie: Fresh turmeric root is especially great in juices and smoothies. For a less-intense approach, a pinch of ground turmeric in your smoothie will do.
  6. Make tea: Simmer turmeric with coconut milk and honey to make an earthy and comforting beverage. AKA Golden Milk.

 

So, there we have it. Turmeric is exactly what the doctor ordered. This week, explore all that turmeric has to offer, in all its many forms.

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