turmeric root

chopped
5.0
based on 27 reviews
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0.46 oz
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2.1 oz
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8 oz
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VARIANTS
chopped
ground
This earthy-sweet, warm spice is pungent and has a slight peppery finish. It will lend its color to any dish to which it is added and is often used to color rice and other food stuffs. It has a mustard-like aroma, with an astringent, even slightly bitter flavor—though this bitterness will soften with heat.

It is mostly used in savory dishes though sometimes also in sweet ones: including ice creams and cake icings. Chopped turmeric root is ideal for infusions into stews and sauces, or milks and puddings. Use a slotted spoon to remove before serving.
QUICK INFO
turmeric root , chopped
INGREDIENTS
Turmeric root
TASTING NOTES
A warming spice with a pungent earthiness; additional almost floral notes and hints of eucalyptus lurk beneath top flavors. Slightly bitter.
AROMA
Mildly aromatic. Earthy to musky, with a bit of woody astringency.
CHARACTERISTICS
Mesmerizing bright golden-yellow.
PAIRINGS
Pair with cumin or paprika to deepen the spice's earthiness; pair with cardamom or coriander to highlight turmeric's floral notes with a bit of citrus.
SUBSTITUTIONS
Saffron or safflower will yield a similar musky flavor and impart foodstuffs with the same yellow color of turmeric.
USAGE
Used mostly in savory dishes: a star in curries; also adds visual interest and flavor complexity to rice dishes. Used as a coloring agent in cheese, butter, sauces, baked products, and other food products.
PLANT PART
rhizome
PROCESSING / FORM
chopped
BOTANICAL NAME
Curcuma longa
VOLUME
2.5 oz (71 g) per 1/2 cup
ORIGIN
India
BOTANICAL NAME
Curcuma longa
AKA
turmeric
Indian saffron
Turmeric is an underground rhizome that looks rather similar to ginger. It has ginger's same gnarly tuber shape but its skin is darker and more golden. Its flesh is also a much richer and deep yellow-orange color. It is part of the family Zingiberaceae which, not surprisingly, also includes ginger and cardamom.

Like many of the other plants in the family, turmeric can be found in tropical climes, particularly India, where it grows natively. Though there are a numerous varieties of Curcuma species, C. longa is found almost exclusively in South India. The turmeric-growing South Indian city Erode is the largest producer and is known also as "Yellow City" or "Turmeric City."

Turmeric is harvested annually. The rhizomes collected are used either for consumption or for propagation for the following season's crop. The rhizomes marked for sale are boiled, dried and then processed, most-often into a yellow-golden powder.

The spice is the principal ingredient in commercial curry, but it is also used as an all natural coloring agent. It is used in food industries to color cheese, butter and other foods; and though it is also used to color the robes of Buddhist monks and the traditionally South Asian draped garments called saris, it isn't an ideal fabric dye because it isn't colorfast.
USAGE HINT

Pairing turmeric with black pepper is popular not only for taste considerations but also because the bioactive compound piperine in black pepper helps with the absorption of turmeric's anti-oxidant properties.

QUICK FACT

Curcumin is the organic compound present in turmeric that gives it its particular golden-yellow color. It is used in food stuffs as a natural coloring agent and also in cosmetics.

 
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REVIEWS (27)