Using Turmeric as a Spice

Tumeric and Curcumin Information


General Turmeric

Using Turmeric as a Spice

Turmeric and Alzheimers

Turmeric as an Anti-Inflammatory

Turmeric and Arthritis

Turmeric and Atherosclerosis

Turmeric and Cancer

Turmeric and Cataracts

Turmeric and Cholesterol

Turmeric and Crohns Disease

Turmeric and Cystic Fibrosis

Turmeric and Liver Disease

Turmeric and Psoriasis

Research Updates

Turmeric, long valued as a medicinal herb and used to treat everything from skin diseases to blood poisoning to stomach ailments, is also a staple in many kitchens. Anyone who cooks, or just loves good food will enjoy preparing dishes with turmeric. The sheer variety of uses to which it can be put, ranging from savory meals to desserts, proves that it is one of the most versatile spices available. Renowned for its distinctive pungent flavor and yellow hue, turmeric is an essential part of many different kindsturmeric power picture of food. Best known for its role in curry and chutney, turmeric is also an ingredient in many condiments, including Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and certain salad dressings. It is commonly used in pickles as well. Grown primarily in India, the spice has been cultivated for centuries and today is used extensively in Southeast Asian cuisine. Turmeric comes from the root, or rhizome, of a plant called Curcuma longa, which is in the ginger family. Like ginger, the chopped or powdered root has an unmistakably tart taste unlike ginger, however, turmeric’s flavor is mustier and contains peppery undertones. Turmeric root has a tough brown outer skin, with bright orange flesh underneath. The spice is prepared by boiling or steaming the fingers that extend from the root itself following this process, the root is then dried and ground into powder. While most commonly sold in powder form, turmeric can be used in either powder or root form. The root, which can be used fresh or dried, is often available in U.S. and Asian markets.

Sharp and earthy in flavor, with just a hint of ginger, turmeric complements any kind of poultry or seafood by giving it a warm color and accenting the natural flavor of the meat. However, it also goes well with any number of rice, lentil, or vegetable dishes. It should, however, be used sparingly. While turmeric tastes pleasantly spicy, a little goes a long way and it gets stronger as it cooks. Adding it to soups and stews improves the flavor, and when melted with butter and drizzled over pasta or cooked vegetables, turmeric provides a bright splash of color as well as irresistible taste.

Turmeric can vary in color from bright yellow to deep orange, and is widely used as a food coloring. Not only does it give mustard its vibrant yellow hue, it is also used to color dairy products such as cheese and butter. It is occasionally substituted for the more expensive saffron, not because of its flavor, which is drastically different, but for its similarity in color.

Turmeric is susceptible to light, and because of this it is usually packed and sold in airtight containers. Tins of turmeric should be stored in a cool dark place, to preserve its flavor. Nevertheless, even in ideal conditions, turmeric begins to lose its potency after six months.

Overall, turmeric is a versatile and tasty spice with as many potential uses as the cook can think up.

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