Turmeric is a spice that is as common as salt and pepper. This spice is used by everyone worldwide. You will hardly find someone that does not know about this exceptional spice. Turmeric is produced from the flowering plant. This plant is called Curcuma Longa, and it belongs to the ginger family, known as Zingiberaceae in the botanical language.
Turmeric has a wide range of health benefits and an exceptional taste, making it a perfect spice for various cuisines. Turmeric has more than a thousand years of usage history in Asia. It has been used there since ancient times. Due to the color-producing properties of turmeric, it is also used for dying and food coloring purposes since the old times. But its use for culinary purposes is also nonnegligible. And in this article, our main focus will be on its culinary uses, which are discussed in the coming paragraphs.
What does Turmeric Look Like?
Turmeric has a bright yellow color. It is normally found in its powder-like appearance, and that’s its commonly used form. You will hardly find its whole form in food recipes, but it is easily available in store. However, its whole form, also called the fresh turmeric roots, looks like ginger. That’s also because both of them belong to the same family. However, the fresh turmeric has a bright and vibrant orange color.
Where does Turmeric Come From?
Turmeric comes from Indonesia and southern India. Its history is around 1000 years old. It is widely used for different purposes since ancient times. Due to its high aroma, in the older days, this spice was used for making perfumes. The use of turmeric spread from Southeast Asia when people started using turmeric for dying, the clothes the Buddhist and Hindu priests and monks used. And with time, people also started cultivating it in other regions and began using it for culinary reasons. Currently, a major portion of turmeric comes from the Indian Ocean islands and the mainland. Besides, it is also produced in Thailand and other tropical Asian countries.
How is Turmeric Made?
In the first method, you should clean and peel the turmeric roots. Make sure to wear gloves; otherwise, your hand will turn orange. After peeling the roots, you should cut them into thin pieces and then leave them until it dries. For drying, you can use an oven or dehydrator. Once it dries, you can use a grinder or food processor to transform the slices into powdered form. Afterward, you can use any sieve to separate the bigger chunks from the smaller ones. And then, grind the bigger chunks again. Follow this process unless it completely transforms into ground form. Then, place the turmeric powder in any jar or container.
What Does Turmeric Taste Like?
Turmeric gives various flavors in a single spice. It has a very sharp and earthy flavor. Its taste combines the flavor of bitter and peppery flavor that resembles the flavor of horseradish and mustard. People mostly use this herb more for its color than its flavor; that’s why they use turmeric to replace saffron, ignoring its bitter taste.
How is Turmeric Used in Cooking?
Turmeric roots give a better aroma and flavor to the food than the powdered form. You can add this spice to any recipe with other spices. It is better to saute the powder form of turmeric in oil and then add other ingredients. It will make the spice well-cooked and give it adequate time to release color and flavor.
What Types of Cuisines Use Turmeric?
Turmeric is largely used in South Asian cuisines. Especially in Nepali and Indian cuisines, turmeric has high use. It is used in sweet dishes and savory items like stir-fry cuisines, cakes, and even soups. This spice is also used in Persian cuisines.
What is a Turmeric Substitute?
Turmeric has around 10 substitutes, and all of them work well to replace this spice. The list contains various ingredients such as annatto seeds, ginger powder, saffron, yellow mustard seeds, galangal powder, turmeric paste, madras curry powder, fresh turmeric roots, smoked and mace paprika, and cumin seeds.
Where to Buy Turmeric?
Turmeric is as common as salt. So, you won’t face any trouble in finding this spice. However, the presence of so many brands makes selecting a single product a little difficult. Especially when you do not know which brand promises the best quality. But we have done the work for you. We have listed few best turmeric products.
- Organic Turmeric Root Powder w/ Curcumin | Lab Tested for Purity | 100% Raw from India | 8oz/226g Resealable Kraft Bag | by FGO
- Anthony’s Organic Turmeric Root Powder, 2 lb, Curcumin Powder, Gluten-Free & Non-GMO
- HQOExpress | Organic Turmeric Powder w/natural Curcumin | USDA Certified & Lab Tested | 21 oz. Chef Jar