|Pronounced "too-mer-ick", Turmeric, Curcuma longa, is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant. A member of the ginger family Turmeric is native to tropical South Asia. Turmeric is a central ingredient in Curry Powders and pastes, Masalas, Ras El Hanout and is also called Indian Saffron or Curcumin Turmeric. Turmeric is also frequently misspelled as tumeric.
Turmeric grows wild in the forests of South and Southeast Asia. It is one of the key ingredients in numerous Asian dishes. Tamil traditional medicine, called Siddha, has recommended turmeric for medicinal purposes for thousands of years.Turmeric is a widely used spice in South Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine. Persian recipes often call for turmeric as a base ingredient, many Iranian fried dishes begin with oil, onions and turmeric followed by the other ingredients that are to be added.
Turmeric is mostly used in savory dishes but also makes some appearances in several sweet dishes, such as Sfouf cake. In India, the leaf of the turmeric plant is used in the preparation of the sweet dish patoleo where the coconut and rice flour are wrapped in the leaf.
Outside of South Asia, turmeric is frequently used as a coloring agent to impart a vibrant yellow color. It is often found commercially in baked goods, biscuits, canned beverages, cake icings, cereals, dairy products, ice cream, orange juice, sauces, yellow cakes and yogurt.
We source our Turmeric from Alleppey, a region in the farthest reaches of southwestern India. There are several types of Turmeric produced in this region for the US the “splits and bulbs” grade come from the main root (underground) and these tend to be less expensive and of a lower quality (less flavor, color and volatile oil) are more fibrous and are difficult to grind.
We carry the higher quality Turmeric “Fingers” which are appendages that are separated from the main rhizome (which are the elongated horizontal subterranean plant stems that produce roots below and shoots above). These are then broken into 1” to 3” lengths. The “fingers” possess a greater curcumin content (in essence better coloring), more flavor (because of their higher volatile oil) and this provides an enhanced quality Turmeric for grinding.
Our top quality Turmeric contains 5%-6% curcuminoids (a group of yellow pigments) of which curcumin is the primary pigment. Curcumin gives the rhizome its orangish yellow coloring and this color level is also an indication of its quality. Turmeric is traded world-wide based on its curcumin content. Be careful when handling this as it will stain hands, cooking utensils and even your clothes.
Use Turmeric with beans, chicken, eggs, fish, meat, rice and spinach.
Turmeric works well in combination with cilantro, coriander, cumin, fennel seed, ginger, mustard seeds, paprika and pepper.
Some of the more popular recipes with Turmeric include African Vegetable Stew, Shrimp Garam Masala, Amritsari Chole and Rajma.
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