Turmeric is native to Indonesia and southern India, where it has been harvested for more than 5,000 years. It has served an important role in many traditional cultures throughout the East, including being a revered member of the Ayurvedic pharmacopeia. While Arab traders introduced it into Europe in the 13th century, it has only recently become popular in Western cultures. Much of its recent popularity is owed to the recent research that has highlighted its therapeutic properties. The leading commercial producers of turmeric include India, Indonesia, China, the Philippines, Taiwan, Haiti and Jamaica.
Turmeric was traditionally called Indian saffron since its deep yellow-orange color is similar to that of the prized saffron. It has been used throughout history as a condiment, healing remedy and textile dye.
Turmeric comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant and has a tough brown skin and a deep orange flesh. This herb has a very interesting taste and aroma. Its flavor is peppery, warm and bitter while its fragrance is mild yet slightly reminiscent of orange and ginger, to which it is related.
Powder – The powdered form of turmeric is prepared by washing and oven drying the turmeric rhizome, which is then ground into a fine golden yellow powder. This powder is added in small quantities to foods for taste and sometimes just for colour. It is added during the initial stages of cooking, and thus imparts its unique flavour and colour to the dish. It is not just used in Indian cooking, it also used in oriental cuisine.
Powdered turmeric is also added to traditional skin creams, which have a cooling and soothing effect in addition to its antibacterial properties.
Whole rhizome – In some cases, turmeric is sometimes used as whole rhizome. It is available as a pickle that is slow cooked with spices so it remains soft, imparting a delicate flavour to the pickle.
Turmeric leaves – Turmeric leaves are used in cooking as well, particularly in oriental cuisine.
Turmeric has a peppery, warm and bitter flavor and a mild fragrance slightly reminiscent of orange and ginger, and while it is best known as one of the ingredients used to make curry, it also gives ballpark mustard its bright yellow color.
Nutrients in Turmeric
2.00 tsp (4.40 grams)
Manganese = 17 %
Iron = 10.1%
Vitamin B = 64%
Fiber = 3.7%
Potassium = 3.1%
Calories (15) = 0%
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.
Wash the fresh roots in cold running water or rinse for few minutes to remove any sand, 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 and then ground to get flavorful yellow colored powder.
In order to keep the fragrance and flavor intact, it is generally added at the last moment in the cooking recipes, because prolonged cooking might result in evaporation of its essential oils.
It is essential to be watchful while handling turmeric since its pigments can easily stain clothes and kitchen walls. To avoid a lasting stain, immediately wash any area with which it has made contact with soap and water.
– Research studies have suggested that Curcumin, a poly-phenolic compound, found in this herb may inhibit the multiplication of tumor cells, including multiple myeloma, pancreatic cancer, and colon cancer.
– It contains health benefiting essential oils such as termerone, curlone, curumene, cineole, and p-cymene. These compounds have applications in cosmetic industry.
– Curcumin, along with other antioxidants, has been found to have anti-amyloid and anti-inflammatory properties. Thus; it is effective in preventing or at least delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
– The root herb contains no cholesterol; however, it is rich in anti-oxidants, and dietary fiber. Together, they help to control blood cholesterol levels, offer protection from coronary artery disease and stroke risk.
– Early laboratory studies have been suggestive that turmeric is liver protective, anti-depressant, anti-retroviral effects.
– It has been in use since a very long ago as an important ingredient in traditional Chinese and ayurvedic medicines for its anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, carminative, and anti-flatulent properties.