What is Turmeric?

Is fresh turmeric better than dried? How should turmeric be stored? Is turmeric good for you?

What is turmeric?

What is turmeric? Turmeric is the root of a plant in the ginger family. It has a pungent flavor and an intense yellow-orange color, which can stain everything it comes in contact with (it’s what gives curry powder and yellow mustard their color). It’s known to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, due to curcumin, turmeric’s key protective compound.

In its raw form, turmeric looks like a smaller version of fresh ginger, and appears carrot-orange when you peel or cut into it. If your market carries it, you’ll find it in the produce area. Fresh turmeric is earthier, and more peppery, citrusy, brighter, and stronger in flavor than dried. But dried is more readily available and will keep longer. Because it has more flavor, fresh is preferred over dried. You can store fresh turmeric in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about two weeks (or freeze it for several months).

Measuring fresh vs dried turmeric: One inch of fresh turmeric yields one tablespoon of grated, which equals one teaspoon of ground turmeric.

Did you know… curcumin is fat soluble? Thus, the most effective way to ensure turmeric’s nutrients are absorbed is to combine it with something containing fat. As well as with black pepper, as pepper contains piperine, which is proven to increase the body’s ability to absorb curcumin.

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