Curcuma, kunyit, otherwise known as… turmeric. It’s one of my favorite spices, which I’m sure you can tell from my recipes. Turmeric grows in Asia, primarily in India and southern China where it’s used as a yellow food coloring and is also prized for its healing properties. When I was younger, turmeric was nowhere to be found in Friesland. It wasn’t even available at the Asian food stores my family and I frequented or at my uncle’s organic food store. My mother went on a real quest to find it, but when she did, our addiction began. The root cleanses the body, is a natural anti-inflammatory and can help combat inflammations of the skin, like eczema. Curcumin, the active substance in turmeric, activates antibodies, which strengthens the immune system. My mother added pieces of turmeric root to a liter of water with a bit of Himalayan salt. We drank a glass of it every morning. After a year, we’d had enough of that, but we haven’t stopped experimenting with it since. I include it in recipes; use it to make ‘feel good drinks’ and I have even used it to brush my teeth. It’s also left a whole bunch of yellow stains on my clothes that don’t wash out easily, I’ve discovered.
My mother used to travel far and wide to make sure we had fresh turmeric in the house, but usually turmeric root is immersed in boiling water immediately after the harvest and is then dried. Once dried, the turmeric is ground into a powder. Fresh turmeric is still difficult to find and is a bit more challenging to work with, so I always have a jar of powdered turmeric at home. If it works with a dish, I’ll always find a way to include it. It smells delicious and it makes you very strong from the inside out. Thumbs up for turmeric!
Tip: turmeric is absorbed more easily into the bloodstream if you eat it in combination with cayenne or black pepper.
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