Turmeric is a spice commonly used in curries and other South Asian cuisine. Its active ingredient is curcumin. It is a significant ingredient in most commercial curry powders. Turmeric is also used to give a yellow colour to some prepared mustards, tinned chicken broth, and other foods (often as a much cheaper replacement for saffron).
It makes a poor fabric dye as it is not very lightfast (the degree to which a dye resists fading due to light exposure).
Turmeric, a representative of plant genus Curcuma, is a member of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae.
In Ayurvedic medicine, Turmeric is thought to have many healthful properties and many in India use it as a readily available antiseptic for cuts and burns. It is taken in some Asian countries as a dietary supplement, which allegedly helps with stomach problems and other ailments. It is popular as a tea in Okinawa, Japan. It is currently being investigated for possible benefits in Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and liver disorders.
Sangli, a town in the southern part of the Indian state of Maharashtra, is the largest and most important trading centre for turmeric in Asia or perhaps in the entire world.
Traditional Uses for Turmeric:-
Turmeric (coded as E100 when used as a food additive) is used in product systems that are packaged to protect them from sunlight. The oleoresin is used for oil-containing products. The curcumin/polysorbate solution or curcumin powder dissolved in alcohol is used for water containing products. Over-colouring, such as in pickles, relishes and mustard, is sometimes used to compensate for fading.
Turmeric has found application in tinned beverages, baked products, dairy products, ice cream, yogurts, yellow cakes, biscuits, popcorn-color, sweets, cake icings, cereals, sauces, gelatines, direct compression tablets, etc.
In combination with Annatto (E160b) it has been used to colour cheeses, dry mixes, salad dressings, butter and margarine.
Also found in Momos (Nepali meat dumplings) which are a traditional dish in South Asia.
Turmeric is well known for its anti inflammatory properties all over the middle and far east where it is often made into a milky drink used in the control of painful joints. It is becoming more widely recognised and used in the west.
Take one pint of milk and add three heaped teaspoons of ground turmeric, one heaped teaspoon of ground ginger and, if desired, one teaspoon of your favourite tea for flavour. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Add sugar or honey to taste (it benefits from the sweetness) and drink at least one cup a day.
This is one of those drinks that is often known as “stretched” meaning that the final mixture is poured from a great height from one container to another a few times in order to froth it and to aerate it as in North African Mint tea where you see the maker pouring it from one container to another, making a great show and at some speed. It is said to improve the tea by concentrating the flavour.