Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Culinary Uses of Turmeric

Turmeric is a brightly colored powder often used in cooking.

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Turmeric is a root related to ginger that has a wide range of uses. Generally, the root is dried and ground into a fine powder that is used in medicine, dyes and several culinary applications. It has been grown and used since before 3000 B.C. and comes in 30 different varieties that range in color from reddish-orange to pale yellow.

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In culinary applications, Asian cooking makes the most use of turmeric. The spice adds a warm aroma to a wide range of curries and is a principal ingredient in curry powder. Many curries get their color from the use of turmeric. Cooks add the spice to several rice and chicken dishes, and turmeric is also used as a condiment in India. The spice's flavor intensifies when it is cooked, so chefs often use a light hand when adding it to any dish.

Adding Color

Turmeric is sometimes referred to as "poor man's saffron" because it adds intense color to foods. It does not taste like saffron, which is much more expensive, but turmeric can add the same type of yellow to orange color. Mustard often contains turmeric, added to achieve the vibrant deep yellow color. Other food items such as cheese, butter, fruit drinks, cakes and desserts have small amounts of the spice to add color and flavor.

Healthy Tea

On the island of Okinawa, Japan, famed for a high average life expectancy, turmeric is traditionally used to make tea. A small amount is mixed with boiling water, honey and lemon to sweeten the taste. The many medicinal properties of turmeric help make this tea a healthy choice, which plays a part in the islanders' good health. The Okinawans, who drink the tea regularly, can brew it fresh themselves or buy it prepackaged in stores.

Nutritional Aspects

Turmeric is a nutritional and healthy ingredient containing essential nutrients such as potassium, calcium, fiber and iron. A single serving of turmeric, 1 tablespoon or 6 grams, contains 16 percent of the recommended daily intake of iron and 6 percent of the required fiber. It is low in sodium, sugar, cholesterol and saturated fats. Its nutritional aspects also make it suitable to help regulate digestion and circulation.

ReferencesTurmeric: Food UseTurmeric: FactsDr Weil; Healthy Turmeric Tea; Brad LemleyNutrition Data: Nutrition FactsPhoto Credit Zedcor Wholly Owned/ ImagesRead Next:

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