Turmeric is quite the trendy ingredient these days, and for good reason! Turmeric is a spice derived form a root, similar to ginger. It has a deep golden color and unique flavor that can best be described as orange and ginger-like with a touch of bitterness. Turmeric contains a substance called curcumin, which is being researched in both animals and humans for potential anti-inflammatory, antioxidant effects. Ground and fresh turmeric can be found in the spice and produce sections at grocery stores and also as a supplement in capsules or liquid extract form.* Its flavor is enhanced by curry, cumin and other common ingredients in Indian cuisine. Because tumeric is strong and potent, it’s typically called for in small amounts, but of course, more can be added if you discover a new love for the flavor!
This versatile spice can be used in many ways! When starting out, try incorporating turmeric into foods you already enjoy:
- Blend ground or fresh turmeric into smoothies; ½ - 1 teaspoon for a subtle flavor.
- Add 1-2 teaspoons ground turmeric to soups or stews.
- Sauté vegetables in oil and 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric.
- Sprinkle turmeric, about ½ teaspoon, into water when cooking rice.
- Add 1 teaspoon of freshly grated turmeric root to any chicken, steak or tofu marinade.
- Sprinkle turmeric into egg dishes or scrambled eggs.
When using the fresh root, remember to peel it first and, just like with ginger root, peel the skin using the edge of a spoon. Grate with a fine cheese grater or microplane. Wrap the unused portion tightly in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for a week to 10 days.
* Before taking any supplements including turmeric, remember to consult your physician. If you plan to use turmeric as a spice in cooking, it’s not necessary to check with your doctor before using it.