What is Turmeric 101?
Turmeric is a ground spice that you'll often see in curry dishes (and what gives most curries their bright yellow color). It's also great for your health!
Turmeric is a spice that comes from the turmeric plant. It's different from curcumin, which is one of the main compounds in turmeric and what gives it its health properties. Curcumin supplements are often made with just this compound, but you'll get more benefits if you take a supplement or add turmeric to your diet since it contains other beneficial compounds as well.
Turmeric, also known as “the golden spice” has a long history as herbal medicine. In India, Turmeric is called “the spice of life” and has been used for medicinal purposes for over 4000 years.
Taste of Turmeric
Turmeric has a bright orange color, similar to the color of carrots. It has an earthy flavor with bitter notes, which are more noticeable if you don't cook it in something fatty like oil or ghee (clarified butter).
Where does Turmeric Come From and its Use around the World?
It is a spice widely used in Indian culture. Nowadays, it has been reported that this yellow powder, also called "yellow gold". Let's take a quick trip around the world with turmeric from India to Morocco, from Thailand to Malaysia, and from China to Iran.
In South Asia, especially in Sri Lanka and India, turmeric root has been traditionally consumed for thousands of years as a component of curry. Curcuma longa is cultivated mostly on small farms throughout Sri Lanka and eastern India with production hitting 250 000 tonnes in 2005 with an export value of about US$ 6 million. Sri Lankan farmers are the highest producers globally, with an average yield of 3-5 tonnes/acre/year, while Indian yields are closer to 1.4 tonnes/acre/year.
Turmeric found in China dates back around 4000 years ago when Buddhist monks brought it from India during their pilgrimage to China. The root is ground into powder and used often in combination with other spices for preparing cooked chicken or pork dishes. Also, because of its yellow color, it is sometimes added to egg foo yong or other foods as a natural food coloring agent to produce a rich golden hue without affecting the flavor of the dish.
Turmeric Powder gets its bright yellow-orange color from curcuminoids, major components of the essential oils in turmeric. Curcuminoids include demethoxycurcumin and bis-demethoxycurcumin, two compounds that give turmeric its anti-inflammatory properties. You can also find these in supplements made with just curcumin.
10 Food Items where we Use Turmeric are :
- Yellow mustard
- Pickles and olives
- Hot dogs and sausage
- Salad dressing and mayonnaise
- Prepared mustard, such as Dijon mustard
- Margarine and other butter spreads
- Soy milk and dairy products containing soy (such as ice cream)
- Processed cheese slices, such as American cheese or Velveeta® cheese spread 100% vegetable oil-based supplements
- Coloring in some cosmetics and medications
How do we grow Turmeric at Divine Organic Tea?
We Grow Turmeric in these two Ways:
- We grow turmeric from a local nursery plant by digging up the root and potting it in sterilized soil. We only do this during the winter months when there is less rain to avoid any chance of disease on the new growths or roots.
- During April through October, we use a method called transplanting which starts with taking rooted pieces of turmeric from our greenhouse beds and placing them into an empty bed for growing for a month or two before being transplanted into another bed of mature plants which have been "fallow" (meaning they haven't been harvested or used for several months).
We can Harvest Turmeric at Three Stages: -
- Flowering stage: This is when the plant is blooming.
- Foliage stage: This is when you can harvest the leaves for fresh use or processing to make turmeric powder.
- Root stage: At this point, the root of the plant has fully matured and can be harvested.
Turmeric in Tea
So, what to consider if you want to drink turmeric tea Here are some things you should keep in mind when trying out turmeric tea.
The color will be lighter but it's still packed with health benefits. * Make sure the water doesn't get too hot because this might reduce the amount of curcumin that gets released into your beverage. * For example, 'steeping' (that is letting the bag sit in hot water for a couple of minutes) at higher temperatures results in less curcumin than steeping at lower temperatures for a longer period of time.
- Heat freshly drawn cold water to 100ºC/ 212ºF
- Infuse tea for 5-6 minutes
- 1 tsp per cup – max 2 cups a day
* If you want to prepare a larger amount of tea which can last for several days, simply make a concentrated version by infusing the water with two heaped teaspoons of turmeric powder and let it steep for 20 minutes. Then add this concentrated liquid to hot water whenever you're about to drink some tea. This way your beverage will maintain most of its curcumin content for longer. * Turmeric is fat-soluble, that is why milk or cream will help the body absorb more curcumin from turmeric tea – try adding half a cup or one cup respectively if you feel like drinking something creamy after your meal.
Interestingly people enjoy drinking turmeric tea– not only because of the health benefits they hear about but also due to its pleasant taste.