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Turmeric from A to Z: 26 Things to Know

Turmeric from A to Z: 26 Things to Know

A look at interesting turmeric nutrition facts, varieties, recipes and uses: find out more about a super spice with powerful and proven health properties.

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Anti. Turmeric is a super spice with various powerful and proven health properties. First and foremost, it has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Apart from which, it purifies the organism, facilitates digestion and the healing of scars, and regulates the production of sebum. It protects against neurodegenerative diseases and from the risk of heart attacks. It also helps reduce cholesterol levels.

Blackhead. Turmeric is used in various beauty formulations. For example, in facial masks for those who want a fresher complexion without blackheads: 1 spoonful of turmeric, 1 of honey, 1 of lemon juice and 15 minutes time.

Curry. Turmeric is one of the ingredients used in almost every type of curry, comprising Indonesian-Malay gulay.

Dessert. Although it is mainly used in savoury recipes, fresh grated turmeric is excellent for dressing fruit salads or for using as a dessert topping. Not forgetting how fantastic custard and turmeric can be.

Emperor. One variety of turmeric plants, together with the Queen Lily or the Jewel of Thailand: they all produce a beautiful flower and are very easy to grow. In winter, they become dormant.

Fresh. Fresh turmeric, whose flavour is very intense compared to the dry powdered version, is the one to use if you wish to preserve its main active principle intact: curcumin.

Golden. While the root is bright orange, its powder is golden yellow and confers a strong colour to food. This spice is used to make a trendy beverage called “golden milk”, in which milk – vegetable or whatever – is flavoured and coloured with turmeric and generally sweetened by the addition of maple syrup.

Halud.“Every spice has its own special day. That of turmeric is Sunday, when light drips like butter into the tins which drink it up and assume its splendour, when we pray to the nine planets so that they will grant us love and fortune. Turmeric, also called halud, is yellow, the colour of dawn and the jingle of shells at daybreak […]. Yes, I whisper, rocking to the rhythm of the words. Yes, you are turmeric, the protective shield of heartbreak, the ointment of death, the hope of rebirth”. From The mistress of spices, by Chitra Banerjee Divakarumi.

India. The homeland of turmeric, along with other nations and regions of South Asia, such as Malaysia. The plant grows in a tropical climate between 20°C and 35°C, in areas characterized by heavy rainfall.

Japan. Turmeric is an essential spice also in Japanese curry recipes.

Khoresh. The general term used to indicate Persian stews. They all start with onions caramelized with turmeric.

Lebanon. The land of the “sfouf,” a simple dessert made from semolina, turmeric, sugar and pine nuts.

Marco Polo. That of turmeric is an ancient story and Marco Polo even described this spice in his travelogue, The Million, as far back as 1280.

Nagra. Parminder Nagra is the leading actress in the romantic-sports comedy called “ Bend it like Beckham” whose culinary protagonist is “Aloogobi”, a turmeric-yellow Punjab dish of potatoes and cauliflower. In the DVD, director Gurinder Chadha includes a section in which he prepares it.

Over 70. There are over 70 pathologies that turmeric can help combat and new scientific studies on its properties are being carried out all the time.

Pepper. Peperine, the active ingredient of black pepper, supports and enhances the principles of curcumin. The combination of these two spices in cooking is therefore excellent for the health. The absorption of turmeric is also facilitated when it is used in combination with green tea and fats.

Quảng style noodles. A dish from the eponymous province of Vietnam, whose ingredients are rice noodles with prawns, pork or chicken and, of course, turmeric.

Ras el Hanout. The Maghrebi version of garam masala which generally contains 12 spices, including turmeric.

Saffron. Turmeric is often used to add the “colour of saffron” to recipes. In economic terms, in fact, the two spices are at the opposite end of the spectrum: one is as expensive as the other is cheap. In fact, turmeric is often called the “poor man’s saffron” or “saffron of the Indies”.

Tint. A plant well known for its dyeing properties, turmeric is applied in the textile industry to dye cotton, wool and silk. Traditionally used for the yellow-orange robes of the sadhu and Buddhist monks, it was also adopted to dye the peplum of ancient Greeks worn during the Panathenaea, the most important religious feast of Ancient Athens.

UK Piccalilli. Piccalilli is a type of condiment made from vinegar, diced vegetables and spices. It derives from Indian pickles and is widely consumed in Belgium, USA and UK. In the UK it is sold as a preserve for serving with main courses and is bright yellow owing to the considerable quantity of turmeric it contains.

Versatile. With its sharp, bitter taste containing hints of orange and ginger, and a vaguely musky aftertaste, turmeric goes well with an almost infinite variety of dishes. Vegetables, poultry, fish and molluscs are some of the best combinations.

Wrap&Cook. Although the root is the part most commonly used in cooking, some Indian regions also adopt the leaves which confer a particular flavour to their dishes. For example, to prepare “patoleo”, the turmeric leaf cake typical of some Hindu festivities, rice, jaggery and grated coconut are mixed together and wrapped in turmeric leaves before being steam-cooked.

XIX Century. This was the period when “colombo” curry from the Antilles became an integral part of the traditional cuisine of the Caribbean islands. Turmeric is an essential ingredient of this recipe, along with other locally grown spices, like Jamaican chilli pepper. Yellow mustard. American yellow mustard contains turmeric.

Zingiberaceae. This is the family the herbaceous, rhizomatic and perennial turmeric plant belongs to. Ginger and cardamom are of the same family.

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