Magical Turmeric

I am so excited to be writing this post!! Turmeric is one of my super-favorite spices, and we're dedicating an entire post to it! (You may remember it's first appearance as part of the curry ensemble in: The Curry Chronicles, Part 1 earlier this spring.)

So what's turmeric other than an element of curry spices? It's the root of the Curcuma Longa plant and has a super deep orange hue (Caution! It WILL dye your stuff!) -- that has been used in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and Ayurveda for centuries medically, as clothing dye, and in cooking (#foodismedicine). 

If you haven't seen the press on turmeric lately, or the $9-$10 turmeric juices at your local Whole Foods, lets break down the sparkly magical part of why you should add turmeric to your diet. Some of the believed health benefits are: 

  1. A powerful and safe anti-inflammatory agent 
  2. Relief for gut problems such as indigestion, IBS, Ulcerative Colitis, etc.
  3. Heart Disease and Cancer prevention
  4. Anti-Bacterial and anti-viral (immune-boosting!)

Studies on the scientifically "proven" benefits of tumeric are out there, and the research is starting to pick up- especially in the use of tumeric as a cancer treatment. You can check out some further reading on this at the end of the post.

Now, let's set modern science aside (GASP!) - just looking at the history: the two oldest medical systems on our planet recognized tumeric for it's awesomeness a long-ass time ago, so whether or not today's science proves this little orange root does the things they think it does, I figure, it can't hurt to eat it on the reg, and I do!

It has a flavor that is a little peppery, bitter and feels slightly warming. When it's fresh it has a little bit of a gingery-orange scent, but that doesn't translate so much when it's dried and ground - which is how you'll probably find it.


Remember those $9-$10 turmeric juices I mentioned a few paragraphs ago? YOU CAN MAKE THEM AT HOME AND IT COSTS YOU A FRACTION OF THAT!!! Which brings us to: the five ways you can use turmeric on the reg.

  1. Turmeric Tea: (option to add fresh ginger juice to either of the following)
    • Fancy Way  -- Take 1/3 cup high quality raw honey (local if you can!), 2 1/2 tsp dried tumeric, 1/2-1 lemon's worth of juice, fresh ground pepper to taste. Mix all these ingredients into a paste and store in the fridge. When you're ready for the tea, put a heaping teaspoon of the turmeric paste into your mug and add hot (NOT boiling) water, stir to dissolve and enjoy!
    • Easy Way - Add a big pinch of turmeric to your tea and add some raw honey to sweeten it up if you need it.
  2. Turmeric Butter Sauce: take some real butter (raw if you can get your hands on it- if you need a guy, I can help), gently melt it down and mix in turmeric powder to taste (1/2 stick of butter to 1/2 tsp of turmeric is what I do) then use as a sauce over your veggies and brown rice. (Yes! I just told you to make butter sauce! You love me, I know.)
  3. Soup Bases: when you're making a miso soup base or kombu soup base, sautee your garlic and onion with a little turmeric, corriander, and cumin before adding the stock water for simmering.
  4. Turmeric in your Guac!: Next time you whip up a little avocado delight, add a little cumin and tumeric in. It's delicious and gives it a signature flavor.
  5. Turmeric Dressingblend 4 tbsp EVOO, juice and zest of 2 lemons, 1/4 avocado, 1 minced and lightly sauteed clove of garlic, 1 tbsp ground turmeric, 1 tbsp raw honey. (Optional to add the other curry spices for a more complex flavor profile!)

ONE LAST THING - when you're buying your ground turmeric, look for "ORGANIC" and "NON-IRRADIATED" on the label. This will ensure your turmeric is being treated like a lady before it hits your table. 

I want to hear about your experiences with turmeric!! Are you incorporating it into your diet?