We all have crossed the spice aisle when grocery shopping and noticed a bright sunny spice called Turmeric on the shelves. Now, if you have ever wondered what this bright-colored powder is, what it is used for, and how one can actually cook with its fluorescent color, we have your back.
In this article, we will be telling you all the details that turmeric spice holds.
What Is Turmeric?
Just like its beloved cousin ginger, Turmeric is a rhizome, which means it is a root in one way or another. Turmeric plant happily thrives in areas with a warm climate and loads of rainfall, but it is native to India and Southeast Asia, where it is a star ingredient in a majority of their cuisines.
Turmeric is famous for its health benefits and the remarkably bright and strong color. Even a full spoon is enough to impart color to any soup or dish you add it to. Owing to this quality, it is often used as a natural food dye and is usually added to various things such as mustard. It has a long staining power and can impart its golden glow to anything it comes in contact with, including your fingers.
If you are about to use this healthy spice and have your favorite white short on, it would be a good idea to give your clothes a change before you start.
History Of Turmeric
Turmeric has been used for its natural healing tendencies for more than 4,500 years. Age-old pots dating back to 2500 BC (uncovered in an area near New Delhi in India) showed traces of garlic, ginger, and Turmeric.
This golden spice emerged as an integral component of Ayurvedic medicine around 500 BC and has maintained its unique place. Now, what is Ayurveda, you may ask. It is an ancient Indian way of naturally healing, which is still largely practiced today.
What Does Turmeric Taste Like?
You know it's bright and sunny, and all your Indian and Pakistani friends use it in nearly every dish they make, but what does it actually taste like? To be honest, this golden spice has a strong earthy and sweet, almost musky, along with a tinge of peppery taste. Familiar with the deep, impeccable flavor that dominates curry powders? Yes, that is the turmeric talking.
This Indian spice is a must-have in Indian curries, and it should be no surprise. Around 80% of the world's supply of Turmeric is produced here.
How Is Turmeric Sold In The Market?
So how is Turmeric sold in the market? Is it available in its fresh form, or do you only get your hands on turmeric powder? Let's find out:
- Dried And Powdered: The common practice is selling it in a dried and powdered form. When dried and ground into a powder, it is much easier to use and can be effortlessly mixed in spice rubs, marinades, curries and can also be sautéed with your veggies when making a soup. Due to its bitter taste, it needs other spices to balance out the flavor.
- Fresh Turmeric: If you are lucky, you can also get your hands on fresh Turmeric that resembles mini ginger knobs. When cut in half, you can visibly see its sunny orange interior. Even though fresh Turmeric is also quite bitter, it has a fresher and citrusy taste compared to its dried form.
So how do you use fresh Turmeric, you may ask. Well, you treat it just like its cousin, ginger. After peeling it, you can grate, slice, or mince it as much as you want. As fresh Turmeric has a less intense taste than dried Turmeric, you can add it at least four times more than its dried form.
How To Choose Turmeric In The Grocery Store?
When on the hunt for the best turmeric powder, check the specialty spice and ethnic shops. The reason is that they have a fresher batch and a quicker customer turnover as compared to ordinary grocery stores. The right way to identify the best Turmeric is through its smell rather than the color.
In case you want fresh Turmeric, avoid the rhizomes that are dry, soft, and shriveled. Choose the ones that feel firm. Fresh Turmeric needs to be stored in a plastic bag or container and then placed in the refrigerator for around two weeks. However, if you plan on keeping it for longer, you can freeze it for quite a few months.
How To Use Turmeric?
There are tons of turmeric recipes, from turmeric chicken to turmeric coffee and turmeric rice, you can use this healthy spice in almost anything.
- Sauté vegetables: You can always sauté your veggies by tossing in some turmeric. Its warm, earthy, and peppery flavor works best with potatoes and cauliflower.
- Add it to scrambled dishes: You can always add a pinch of Turmeric to scrambled tofu or scrambled eggs. This is a great way to introduce Turmeric to your family as its flavor will be quite subtle.
- Color up any rice dish: Adding Turmeric to any rice dish will bring instant color and beauty to your meal.
- Add it to soups: Whether you are making chicken soup or vegetable soup, you can increase its flavor and warmth by adding the healthy spice.
Make turmeric milk: Turmeric milk is famous for its healing properties and is very easy to make. Simply warm up milk and add Turmeric along with other spices such as ginger and cinnamon. Drinking a glass of warm turmeric milk daily will reduce joint pain and inflammation in your body. Since turmeric milk is loaded with antioxidants, it will give your overall health a boost.
Health Benefits Of Turmeric
Turmeric has several health benefits. Let's look at them in detail:
- It has strong anti-inflammatory properties and works great for digestion.
- It contains an antioxidant called curcumin, which aids in preventing blocked arteries.
- Turmeric is the best food for your skin. Turmeric mask is commonly used in Southeast Asia for keeping skin clean and clear.
- If you want Turmeric to be fully absorbed by your body, remember to mix Turmeric with black pepper.
- Turmeric for weight loss is also commonly recommended and used.
- By applying turmeric juice to bruises and wounds, you can speed up the healing process for injuries.
How To Store Turmeric?
Once you get your hands on your desired turmeric powder, you must store it in an airtight jar or container. Remember to place it in a dark, cool place, and this golden spice will last you a year.
However, it is advised to use it within six months for optimum flavor and potency.
There you have it; we are sure by now you have gotten ample knowledge about the magical golden spice and why it is a star in Asian and Indian cuisines. If you genuinely want to experience its benefits, you must give it a try and go for organic Turmeric for the best results.