Turmeric Root: Versatile - Uses and Benefits
turmeric is native to sub-Himalayan mountain region, where it has been popular in cuisines for several thousand years, and grown widely in many parts of the tropical and subtropical regions. It looks and has a familiar taste and aroma to ginger. Turmeric has its own intense flavor, color, and distinctive fragrance. In addition to its culinary use, turmeric has remained a mainstay herb in botanical medicine, going back thousands of years.
The amount of turmeric that you need to receive health benefits is not a lot. While researchers are accustomed to looking at countries like India, where intake of turmeric often reaches a level of 1-2 grams every day, studies show potential health benefits at much lower amounts. In some situations, as little as 50 milligrams of turmeric over a period of several months have been linked with health benefits.
Benefits of Turmeric
The anti-inflammatory properties in turmeric are great for treating both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, turmeric’s antioxidant property destroys free radicals in the body that damage body cells. It has been found that those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis who consume turmeric on a regular basis experience much relief from the moderate to mild joint pains as well as joint inflammation.
Turmeric can be used in the treatment of diabetes by helping to moderate insulin levels. It also improves glucose control and increases the effect of medications used. Another significant benefit is turmeric’s effectiveness in helping reduce insulin resistance, which may prevent the onset of Type-2 diabetes. However, when combined with strong medications, turmeric can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). It is best to consult a healthcare professional before taking it as a supplement.
Turmeric contains a substance known as lipopolysaccharide, which helps stimulate the body’s immune system. Its antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal agents also help strengthen the immune system. A strong immune system lessens the chance of suffering from colds, flu and coughs. The fresh root contains good levels of vitamin-C. 100 g compose of 23.9 mg of this vitamin. Vitamin-C is a water-soluble vitamin and a powerful natural antioxidant, which helps the body develop immunity against infectious agents, and remove harmful free oxygen radicals.
If you do get a cold, a cough or the flu, you can feel better sooner by mixing one teaspoon of turmeric powder in a glass of warm milk and drinking it once daily.
Turmeric also contains good amounts of minerals like calcium, iron, potassium, manganese, copper, zinc, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps in controlling heart rate and blood pressure. The human body utilizes manganese as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Iron is an essential co-factor for cytochrome oxidase enzymes at cellular level metabolisms and required for red blood cell (RBC's) productions.
Culinary Uses of Turmeric
Turmeric powder has been in use as a food colorant, natural food preservative, and flavor base since ancient times. It is traditionally recognized as "Indian saffron" since its deep yellow-orange color is quite similar to that of the prized saffron.
In order to keep the fragrance and flavor intact, it is generally added at the last moment in the cooking recipes. Often prolonged cooking can result in evaporation of its essential oils. Turmeric assists in preventing this from occurring.
It has been used in the preparations of soups, salad dressings and has been found application in the food industry like canned beverages, baked products, dairy products, ice cream, yogurt, yellow cakes, orange juice, biscuits, popcorn color, sweets, cake icings, cereals, sauces, etc.
Turmeric leaves are added to flavor sweet dishes (rice-milk payasam) and ghee (melted butter) in some parts of South India, Thailand, and other South Asian regions.
It is a natural food preservative. The paste is used to marinate fish, chicken, and meat to enhance shelf life; and particularly to offset stingy smell of fish.
In India, the sun dried roots mixed with other spices, curry leaves, peppers, etc., and then gently roasted and ground to prepare a masala curry powder.
Handling and Using Turmeric
Be careful when using turmeric since its deep color can easily stain. To avoid a lasting stain, quickly wash any area with which it has made contact with soap and water. To prevent staining your hands, you might consider wearing kitchen gloves while handling turmeric.
Wash fresh roots in cold running water or rinse for few minutes to remove any sand, grit, soil or pesticide residues. Fresh powder can be prepared at home with the following simple steps: first, the root is boiled in the water, dried under the sun, and then ground to get flavorful yellow colored powder.
Turmeric powder complements well with any vegetable or meat preparations and mixes nicely with other spicy powders and herbs, enhancing overall flavor and fragrance of the dishes.
Turmeric Root should be stored in the refrigerator.
Be sure not to confuse turmeric with curry. "Curry" is a very generalized name for spice combinations that typically contain turmeric alongside of numerous other spices. For example, a dried powdered curry powder may often contain turmeric, coriander, cumin, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, and clove, along with other spices like nutmeg or fenugreek.
Use fresh turmeric rhizomes to make your own fresh turmeric powder by boiling, drying and then grinding it into a fine consistency.
Add turmeric to egg salad to give it an even bolder yellow color.
Turmeric is a great spice to complement recipes that feature lentils.
Give salad dressings an orange-yellow hue by adding some turmeric powder to them.
For an especially delicious way to add more turmeric to your healthy way of eating, cut cauliflower florets in half and healthy sauté with a generous spoonful of turmeric for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.
Interested in giving Turmeric a try? Great! Here are a few recipes to get you excited!
Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower with Cherry Tomatoes & Cannellini Beans
one medium to large head of cauliflower, outer leaves removed and cut into florets
six medium size eshallot, peeled and left whole
one punnet cherry tomatoes (about 250 grams/8.8 oz), washed and cut into halves
one 400 gram tin of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
3 bay leaves
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoon nigella seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped finely
optional: dried raisins or sour cherries, if you like a dash of sweetness these are wonderful added to this dish.
1. Preheat oven to 170˚C (330˚F). In a large mixing bowl place all the vegetables and bay leaves.
2. Mix the water, oil, lemon juice, turmeric, nigella seeds, sweet paprika, cumin, salt and pepper together and pour over the vegetables. Mix to combine ensuring they are evenly coated in the liquid.
3. Place in oven and roast for at least one hour or until cauliflower florets are golden. If you like your veggies really moist remove after this time, if you want the flavours more developed and a more caramelised dish then roast around one and a quarter hours.
4. Scatter over chopped parsley, serve.
Roasted Radishes and Carrots with Turmeric
1½ pounds organic radish, washed with ends trimmed
12 ounces baby carrots, washed
2 tablespoons organic grape seed oil (or melted coconut oil)
½ of a lemon, juiced
2 teaspoons dried organic parsley flakes
1 teaspoon organic ground turmeric root
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon real salt or sea salt
1. Pre-heat oven at 450 degrees
2. Cut your prepared radishes in half, larger radishes may need to be quartered.
3. Place the cut radishes and carrots in a large bowl, and drizzle with the oil and lemon juice. Toss well.
4. Mix the spices together, then sprinkle the mixture over the vegetables and toss until the vegetables are evenly coated.
5. Spread the vegetables out in a single layer on a baking sheet (stoneware works well for this). Roast for 20-25 minutes or until fork-tender (start checking after 15 minutes...mine needed 25 minutes of roasting).
7. Remove from oven, and transfer the radishes and carrots to a serving bowl. Serve right away for the best flavor!
Mango And Turmeric Raw Cupcakes
80g almonds (1/2 cup)
70g sunflower seeds (1/2 cup)
6 medjool dates, pitted
1tbsp coconut oil
pinch Pink Himalayan Salt
Mango turmeric layer:
200g creamed coconut/coconut butter (1 cup)
2tbsp coconut oil
2tbsp maple syrup (optional)
1 large mango (about 1 cup pureed)
2tsp fresh turmeric
1tsp fresh ginger
1tbsp lime juice
1. Place almonds and sunflower seeds into a food processor or high speed blender and pulse few times until they have broken down into a coarse texture. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until the mixture comes together.
2. Divide the mix evenly into 8 cupcake holes, spread onto the base and press tightly down. Set aside.
3. In a small pot gently melt coconut butter, coconut oil and maple syrup stirring frequently. Set aside and leave to cool down for a bit while preparing the mango.
4. Peel mango, turmeric and ginger and place into a blender with lime juice and cinnamon. Blend until smooth. Stir into the melted slightly cooled coconut butter and mix well. Spoon the mixture onto the crust layer and smooth out evenly.
5. Place into a freezer until set and the top feels firm.
6. Once set leave on the counter for a bit and then run sharp knife carefully around the edges to release the cupcakes from the tin.
7. Store in a fridge or freezer in an airtight container. Serve when ready.
These scones come out a gorgeous golden yellow and are a great complement to breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons butter cut up into small pieces
2/3 cup v
1 tablespoon fresh grated turmeric
1/4 cup raisins
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
2. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
3. Knead butter pieces into flour mixture until the mixture looks like fine granules.
4. Add almond milk and fresh turmeric and stir until a dough forms, then mix in the raisins.
5. Place dough onto a floured surface and divide into 8 balls.
6. Place the balls onto an ungreased cookie sheet, flattening each ball gently with the palm of your hand.
7. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown on top. Let cool and enjoy.