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What is the Best Turmeric?

What Turmeric Is The Best For Cooking and Using?


Dried Turmeric in Sri Lanka

Turmeric has made headlines in almost every cooking blog and culinary television show in recent years. It seems like everyone has something to say about Turmeric, but what is actually true? Is Turmeric the long lost elixir of life? Should you be putting Turmeric in everything you eat and drink? What even is Turmeric and where in the world does this super food come from? Lets go on a journey to discover what this super yellow powder is actually good for!


 


What Is Turmeric?


Turmeric is a root plant from the ginger family. Turmeric is native to Southeast Asia and India, it is grown commercially in these regions, primarily in India although. Its rhizome (underground stem) is used as a culinary spice and traditional medicine such as Ayurveda in India.


Turmeric is also commonly found in most spice blends labeled as "Curry Powder". Today, turmeric is promoted as a dietary supplement for a variety of medical conditions, including arthritis, digestive disorders, respiratory infections, allergies, liver disease and depression.


Fresh Turmeric Cultivated in South India


History of Turmeric


Historically, the use of turmeric dates back nearly 4000 years to the Vedic culture in India, where it was used as a culinary spice and had some religious significance. It was also used in Eastern Asian medicines such as traditional Chinese medicine. In India, it was traditionally used for disorders of the skin, upper respiratory tract, joints, and digestive system. It is often also used to dye clothing a vibrant yellow colour.


In 1280, Marco Polo described this spice, he marvelled at a vegetable that exhibited qualities similar to that of saffron. During the 1800's England brought Turmeric from India to Europe and the Caribbean, where is is used in many aspects of local cuisines.


Where Does Turmeric Come From?


Although scientists do not have the exact answer of where Turmeric's origin is, they do agree that it was either from South India or Indonesia. It has been used since ancient times and many records of it can be found in Sanskrit texts throughout India.


Today the majority of Turmeric is cultivated in India, primarily in South India. Port Cities such as Alleppey in Southern India are famed for their Turmeric and it has become renowned as one of the best qualities in the world!


Turmeric Farm Near Alleppey, South India


Is All Turmeric The Same?


Turmeric comes in many forms and names, but what makes it all different? Simple answer is in many cases Turmeric is mixed with fillers. One of the most common fillers is saw dust, this is primarily found in cheaper low quality Turmeric powders in large cooperations.


Other times when Turmeric has other names its simply just where it came from. We call our Turmeric "Alleppey Turmeric', this is because we import it direct from small farms near the this city.


One rare kind of Turmeric that not many talk about is "White Turmeric". Originating from South India it is the oldest form of Turmeric and has similar flavor to Galangal. A great alternative for those who don't like the yellow stain of yellow Turmeric.




Where Can I Buy Turmeric?


You are in the right place! we source our Turmeric from the small port city of Alleppey in South India. The organic farms in the are and the province of Kerala create the strongest and most delicious Turmeric on the planet. All our Turmeric is imported whole which we then grind into a powder to ensure that nothing else is added. When you try it for the first time you will realize that properly sourced Turmeric cannot be compared to any other.




Is Turmeric Healthy?


Turmeric has limited scientific studies, but the ones that have been conducted show that their are potentials to improve heart health and prevent against Alzheimer’s or cancer.

Turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. It may also help improve symptoms of depression and arthritis.


While these benefits are possible, they are limited at this time because of Turmerics scarce bioavailability, and more scientific research is needed.


What is Curcuminoid?


Curcuminoid are compounds of natural phenols and produce the yellow colour in Turmeric. Curcumin is obtained from the root of the Turmeric plant. Often Turmeric substances use marketing gimmicks and claim that the Curcumin count is higher, thus providing a healthier substance. What is import with Turmeric and Curcumin is not the count, but instead the origin.


The origin is important as Turmeric that grows in better soil and taken care by happier people tends to provide a healthier but tastier product.


Ground Turmeric


What Does Turmeric Taste Like?


Turmeric has a distinct flavour but being related to Ginger it has many similarities as well. It has a potent peppery spice with an earthy, spicy undertone. In many cases, people combine turmeric with other milder or sweeter spices to balance out turmeric's boldness.


How to Cook With Turmeric


Turmeric is amazing to cook with, but any of those who have delved into the world of Indian or Sri Lankan cuisine understand that it must be used appropriately. Adding it in to early to a recipe can create a bitter flavour, too late and you wont get the power punch taste that Turmeric aids to many dishes. Using fresh Turmeric compared to dried also yields many different outcomes to cuisine.


I could write an entire article on how to cook with Turmeric. What I would recommend is getting a South Indian Cookbook that has many recipes with both fresh and powdered Turmeric. My favourite cookbook is Hoppers, its a Sri Lankan and South Indian cook book written by a chef who owns the restaurant Hoppers in London.


One of our Favourite Spice Blend is French India Vadouvan, it is a Turmeric heavy spice that has a strong shallot flavour! perfect for marinading meats or making curries! otherwise our Curry Powder is also a Turmeric powerhouse or try a unique lemongrass curry powder from Bali!






Recipes Using Turmeric


As mentioned above my favourite Turmeric laced recipes tend to be from South Indian or Sri Lankan cuisines. Here is a link to three Turmeric heavy recipes from the Hopper Cookbook!



With all the health food nutters putting Turmeric into almost everything its hard to forget that many cultures have been using Turmeric as a health ingredient for thousands of years. This recipe is from Bali and uses fresh Turmeric in a beautiful fresh drink.



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