Why Turmeric is one ‘superfood’ that is here to stay –
and how best to use it
Turmeric is probably one of the best-known spices, and the latest in a long line of ‘superfoods’. But turmeric may be a ‘superfood’ which is here to stay. Claims of the many health benefits of turmeric are well supported by science. Many of us are using it to help with inflammatory problems in the body, including arthritis. And some of us are also using it as a supplement for our pets.
It is the curcumin in turmeric that is important, but it needs a helping hand to be absorbed into the bloodstream. Research suggests that it is best taken with oil, as it’s fat soluble, and with black pepper. There is also some support for using the whole turmeric root rather than just curcumin.
Cooking with turmeric may be the most advantageous of taking it as other food products should assist with its digestion. Turmeric is used in virtually every meal in Indian households. It is often rubbed into fish fillets and meat before cooking as well as being used in combination with other spices and added to dishes during cooking.
Turmeric can be purchased as the fresh root or in powder form. If you are buying turmeric powder make sure it has at least 3% curcumin. The colour may also be a good guide as it is the curcumin which gives turmeric it’s deep shade of yellow. If the powder is pale yellow there’s a chance curcumin has been extracted.
There are many ways to add turmeric to your diet – try the following:
- Use a pinch in scrambled eggs or omelettes.
- Toss it with roasted vegetables.
- Add it to rice.
- Sprinkle onto sautéed vegetables.
- Add to soups.
- Blend it into a smoothie or juice.
- Simmer a little turmeric in hot milky drink with honey.
- Cook lots of curry!
We love this delicious Turmeric Coconut Cake recipe and the Pickled Turmeric Eggs look so pretty in a salad.
Turmeric Coconut Cake Recipe
Turmeric Coconut Cake (or bread) is more like cake to me. Perhaps that’s a cross Atlantic transformation, or something. Whatever, it’s delicious. Why not try this with our Turmeric Plus spice blend which has cinnamon, ginger and black pepper for extra flavour?
Makes 16 small servings
1 tbsp tahini (well stirred), for the baking dish
180g plain flour
2 ½ tsp baking powder
50g desiccated coconut
60g cane sugar
1 tbsp turmeric powder
1/8 tsp salt
200 ml unsweetened almond milk
125 ml melted coconut oil
16 shelled, unsalted pistachios
Preheat the oven to 180oC (Gas Mark 4) and coat the bottom and sides of a 20cm square baking tin with a thin layer of the tahini.
Combine the flour, baking powder, desiccated coconut, sugar, turmeric and salt in a mixing bowl.
Whisk together the almond milk and the melted coconut oil. Add to the mixing bowl and stir in just enough to form a thick, evenly moistened batter.
Pour into the baking tin, scraping out the remainder, and spread evenly, into the corners of the tin.
Arrange the pistachios into a 4-by-4 grid, so that each nut will be at the centre of a baked piece.
Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the pan from front to back about halfway through. It’s ready when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Transfer the tin to a wire rack and leave to cool for about 10 minutes before removing from the tin and leaving to cool. It can be served slightly warm, or cool.
Turmeric Pickled Eggs Recipe
Turmeric Pickled Eggs are delicious and look so pretty! They are good to eat on on their own, with salads or as part of a picnic.
We have also added thinly sliced shallots and radish to the pickle which make a lovely accompaniment.
330ml cider vinegar
125 ml water
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp turmeric powder
4 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
80g daikon, peeled and thinly sliced (you could use the small pink skinned radishes)
1 tbsp whole peppercorns
6 hard-boiled eggs, cooled and shells removed
In a small saucepan bring the vinegar, water, sugar, salt and turmeric to a simmer. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Place the onion, daikon, peppercorns and eggs in a glass litre jar. Pour the vinegar mixture over the eggs, secure the lid, gently rotate to move the shallots and daikon around. Refrigerate for 10 to 14 days, gently inverting the jar each day to remix the turmeric.
We also use our Turmeric Plus blend, which has cinnamon, ginger and black pepper added. We add it to yoghurt, stir it into porridge or just sprinkle into whatever we’re cooking as well as making a daily turmeric latte using milk and a little honey.