In case you haven’t heard, turmeric has been somewhat of a big deal lately. The media has been making health claims ranging from turmeric’s ability to improve symptoms of acne and irritable bowel disease to helping prevent cancer tumor growth. Whether or not these claims are scientifically backed is still up for review, but turmeric is certainly not the new spice on the block. Historically, turmeric has been used in ancient Chinese and Indian medicine because it acts as a potent anti-inflammatory agent. The spice itself is a yellow-orange color with a strong warm, peppery flavor. It contains minerals such as manganese, iron, vitamin B6, a little fiber, copper, and potassium too. The talk about turmeric may or may not be true, but it certainly couldn’t hurt to add it to some of our favorite dishes. First, here are a few things you need to know when cooking with turmeric:
• Turmeric stains. The yellow-orange pigment in turmeric used to be a fabric dye in clothing so be careful not to wipe it on your white apron or favorite shirt! If you are using it in a rub, you may even choose to wear gloves as it can also stain your skin, cutting boards, and countertops!
• Turmeric absorbs better when used in combination with black pepper – so add both to the recipe for best results
• Turmeric powder should be stored in a cool, dry place (so keep your spices in a cabinet away from the windows). Fresh turmeric should be stored in the refrigerator
• A little turmeric goes a long way – this is true for the taste and the color, remember how I said it is potent? Start with a little and you can always add more!
What should I use turmeric for?
• Add it to egg salad for some flavor and to enhance the color
• Sprinkle it on cauliflower or other veggies and roast
• Brown rice, raisins, and cashews go great in a dish with turmeric, coriander, and cumin
• Add it to your own homemade salad dressing to give it some color and an anti-inflammatory boost
• Warm up after some winter aerobic outdoor exercise and replace your sugar-laden hot cocoa with a turmeric latte to warm up as the winter drags on (See recipe below)
What you need:
1 c milk (dairy or non-dairy options work)
½ tsp ground turmeric
½ tbsp ground ginger
¼ tsp vanilla extract
VT maple syrup or honey to taste (less is more!)
Cinnamon – optional
Add all ingredients, except cinnamon, in a saucepan and whisk until combined on medium-high heat. Whisk vigorously until a foam begins to form, but DO NOT ALLOW TO BOIL! When the thickness you desire is reached, pour into a mug and enjoy with a cozy blanket! Sprinkle cinnamon on top if you desire!
Eat and be well!