A trip down the spice aisle can become a mini time-travel, evoking thoughts of the long-romanticized Silk Road. This is especially true of the bright yellow color of turmeric, used to brighten spicy curries and soups with its deep hue. In the U.S., turmeric is often used in Indian and Thai recipes, in teas designed to boost health, or as a drug-free, anti-inflammatory compress.
Native to Indonesia and Southern India, and plant cousin to the spicy ginger root, turmeric is highly prized for its anti-inflammatory qualities and high antioxidant content. Turmeric, used in Chinese and Indian medicines, is believed to neutralize free radicals, the chemicals thought to damage healthy cells and cell membranes.
Beyond food, turmeric also is used as a non-toxic color to dye cloth and to create Mehndi henna tattoos. Meat processors are also exploring how turmeric can boost food safety levels.
Looking to add a little color and a boost of health to your recipes? Check out some cool ways to incorporate turmeric at our Best Food Facts’ Pinterest page!