What Do I Do With …. Turmeric?

By Aurelia d'Andrea February 26, 2014 Categories: What Do I Do with...

The inevitable has visited our home this week: the winter cold. Instead of reaching for over-the-counter remedies to combat the symptoms and jump-start the healing process, I head straight for the kitchen, pull out the juicer, and make an elixir that never fails to kick those twice-a-year colds. The main ingredient in my magical potion is turmeric—a rhizome that looks a lot like ginger root on the outside and a bit like pumpkin on the inside.

 

That vivid orange hue comes from curcumin, a compound that gives turmeric its potent health-supporting benefits. Turmeric is most lauded for its anti-inflammatory properties, which can help ease headaches and other body pains. Turmeric also boasts potent antimicrobial and antibacterial properties that can gently tackle external issues—especially healing cuts and scrapes, skin blemishes, or even athlete’s foot. According to Ayurvedic principles, turmeric helps clear out the harmful bugs that cause digestive ailments when taken internally, and helps boost your immunity to help your body resist future cold and flu strains.

For my special cold-killing juice, I use a mélange of carrots, spinach, lemon, and turmeric root. If you like your swills sweeter, you could add apple or beet to the mix. The amount of turmeric you use depends on how well you can tolerate the taste, which is very earthy and occasionally bitter. I like to use four or five finger-sized roots. If you’re new to fresh turmeric, it’s helpful to know that the stuff stains like crazy, so wear gloves when handling it, and sip your elixir through a straw to avoid a yellow moustache that will last all day.

 

You don’t have to drink turmeric juice to reap its health-supporting benefits; incorporating the more widely available dried powder into your culinary repertoire will add color, flavor, and a healthful boost to your meals. These recipes taste great and will help keep you sated and well throughout the winter cold and flu season and beyond.

 

Southwestern Tofu Scramble

Southwestern Tofu Scramble

 

Yellow Split Pea Dal

Yellow Split Pea Dal

 

Spinach and Red Mustard Salad with Chickpea Dal

Spinach and Red Mustard Salad with Chickpea Dal

 

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Aurelia d’Andrea’s passion for travel is deeply intertwined with her love of food. Whether in Perth, Prague, or Phnom Penh, she always gravitates toward local markets in search of edible treasures, and takes pleasure in recreating tasty travel memories at home in her tiny Parisian kitchen.

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