Arabic: Kurkum Curcuma longa, C. domestica; Zingiberaceae (Ginger Family)
Often called “Indian saffron,” turmeric rhizome was one of the ancient trade products brought by sea from India. Today turmeric is widely used as a spice, cosmetic and dyestuff, and remains part of traditional medicine from Egypt to Iran.
How to use: 1) Slice, grate, chop or grind turmeric to a paste with other ingredients. Then use it as you would fresh ginger root; 2) Grind dried turmeric into powder; 3) Use whole pieces of dried turmeric in pickling.
In the kitchen: Slicing a piece of turmeric rhizome reveals the deep yellow color used to brighten curry powders and a variety of foods. When coloring rice dishes, it is also sometimes a substitute for saffron. But it is easier to buy ready-ground turmeric than to grind it yourself. Wear rubber gloves when handling fresh turmeric to avoid staining your hands.
Did you know?
- In Indian cuisine, turmeric is an ingredient of virtually all curry powders.
- Because turmeric is an edible coloring, the food industry uses it to color mustard, butter, cheese and liqueurs.
- Turmeric is used to dye cotton and silk.
- Al-Kindi used turmeric in a medicine for throat and mouth pustules, and in a dentifrice to strengthen the gums.
- The US Patent and Trademark Office