With the increasing popularity of Asian cuisine, and Indian curries in particular, you’re going to start hearing more about a spice called turmeric.
Fresh turmeric root looks like an old russeted carrot. But when you break a piece open and smell it, you experience a wonderful aromatic and spicy essence. Turmeric also has a deep orange color and was once used as a dye – it can stain your hands, too.
A cousin to fresh ginger, turmeric is native to tropical South Asia. Like ginger, turmeric is technically a rhizome, not a root, which is essentially an underground stem that looks like a root.
What’s so interesting about turmeric is that in addition to it being one of the secret ingredients in Indian curry, it also has many purported health benefits.
My sister, Jackie, shared an article with me last week about the health benefits of spices. A recent study was done on a “special blend” of spices, including: turmeric, garlic, oregano, paprika, rosemary, and ginger. Researchers found that increasing the amount of spices in your diet may lower the level of potentially harmful fat in your bloodstream.
I also found an interesting article listing 20 health benefits of turmeric.
But remember, just because you read it on the Internet does not mean it is 100% true. (Read my previous post on this.) That being said, turmeric must have some health benefits so I’ll definitely be adding it to my arsenal of spices.
If you’re looking for fresh turmeric in your produce department, you may not find it. It is pretty pricey and many retailers don’t even know the FRESH version is available!
So, if you can’t find it fresh, you will certainly be able to find it in the dried spice aisle of your grocery store. However, there really is no comparison in flavor between the two. And remember, dried spices do not last forever. If you buy DRIED turmeric, be sure to tightly seal the jar or bag and use it within a month.
Or, you could ask your produce manager to order some fresh turmeric for you!
Add some spice to your life!