While strolling the back streets of Madurai down in South India, I came across this pile of fresh turmeric. I had to stop and take a photo because I have never seen turmeric sold like this with its leaves and stalks completely whole. I’ve seen it sold all over India and even in Mexico but always resembling ginger and looking more like an orange tinted root.
Turmeric is ” the Queen of Spices.” This title has to do with its long list of healing and preventative properties. I am not a scientist so I wouldn’t begin to venture an explanation as to how or why it works but there is such a long list that all turmeric can help with. Here are a few. It is a natural antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-carcinogen and anti-inflammatory. It is also loaded with nutrients like protein, dietary fiber, niacin, vitamin C, E and K. It can help with arthritis, help control diabetes, reduce cholesterol levels and stimulate the immune system.
I have developed the habit of cooking with it regularly. It has a mild, nutty flavor and is the basis for the yellow coloring in most curries. With so many properties, sprinkling it into your usual recipes may add to your quality of life. One of my favorite uses apart from curries etc, I prepare a spice mix with some turmeric, cumin, chat masala, black salt and grated parmesan cheese and mix it into my popcorn.
In Gujarat, I’ve seen raw turmeric, thinly sliced and placed right on the thali. With plants offering us so much, I prefer to eat my vitamins like this than take vitamin pills. Nature’s bounty is all around us like so many gifts waiting to be unwrapped.