Turmeric, which also goes by the Latin Curcuma longa, is a powerful spice in both flavor and color. While today it is often used for its ability to impart a golden hue to foods, including mustard, cheese, and sauces, it offers so much more than its natural good looks. This ancient Indian medicinal spice is now lauded as a “superspice” for its anti-inflammatory properties.
A member of the ginger (Zingiberaceae) family, turmeric is thought to be native to India, where it is mainly cultivated today. Ninety percent of all turmeric powder comes from India, but it is also grown in parts of Southeast Asia and Central America. Leafy and tropical, the turmeric plant grows as a perennial in the wild. The roots (or rhizomes) resemble smaller, thinner versions of ginger, which are used similarly when fresh, but more prominently are available and used dried and ground into powder form.
An antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory powerhouse, a diet rich in turmeric may help prevent disease, ease joint pain and arthritis, and help fight depression and aging. Cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s are all caused, in part, by low levels of chronic inflammation, commonly brought on by stress hormones. Curcumin, the active chemical compound in turmeric that produces its bitter-spicy flavor acts as its secret weapon: it fights inflammation at the molecular level.
Turmeric is full of antioxidants and constituents, though is not easily absorbed by the digestive system. Two tips for significantly increasing the bioavailability to turmeric: 1) Add a small amount of black pepper (roughly 3 percent). While historically prominent in Ayurvedic practice, science has proved that piperine, an extract of black pepper, increases the absorption of curcumin by as much as 2,000 percent. 2) Heat turmeric in oil. The warm temperature and oil help better extract its compounds, making the more available to the body.
Turmeric can be a rather heavy spice to handle alone, but melds beautifully with other spices in blends like madras curry powder or golden milk tea. It works well in complex blends where its pungent earthiness acts as a base to help bind other flavors together. This is exemplified in two new spice blends: Sazón and Good as Gold.
from left: sazón-roasted cauliflower, golden milk latte
Sazón Spice Blend – NEW!
Versatile and vibrant, Sazón [sah-sohn] spice blend is a Latin pantry staple perfect for brightening up flavor and color while not adding heat. Classically, this seasoning blend is made of salt, garlic, cumin, coriander, oregano, black pepper, and annatto seeds – which give its iconic color. In place of annatto seed, our sazón features turmeric – not only for the same bright color but for added wellness benefits. Salt-free, consumers can season with their salt of choice (we like Chile Lime Salt!) while enabling salt-adverse consumers to enjoy this blend without hesitation. RECIPE TO TRY: Sazón-Roasted Cauliflower
Good as Gold Spice Blend – NEW!
Inspired by the traditional Ayurvedic recipe that has been savored for centuries for its support of the mind and body, this delicious and nourishing blend features turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, and black pepper and comes packed with wellness potential. While best known as the main ingredients for golden milk tea & lattes, this blend’s fine powder consistency makes it easy to incorporate into countless sweet or savory preparations – from smoothies and shakes, to cookie dough and sweet bread batters, to rice and vegetable dishes.
However it’s used, Good As Gold is earthy, warming, comforting – and sugar-free – so you can customize with your choice of sweetener.
A fragrant and luxurious sea salt blend with turmeric, saffron and pink pepperberries.
Best-Selling Herbal Teas: Ginger Turmeric, Peach Turmeric
Ginger Turmeric blends turmeric, ginger, lemongrass, and citrus for bright and warming blend of flavors while Peach Turmeric is a mildly tropical herbal blend showcasing the vibrant fruit flavor of sweet peach, lychee, and honey with rooibos and coconut.
clockwise from left: butter chicken and turmeric rice, turmeric ginger tonic, tropical turmeric popsicles, turmeric mango lassi
From flavoring foods to coloring Easter eggs or simply enjoying a cup of herbal tea—however you use incorporate turmeric into your routine – share it with us on Instagram @spiceandtea.