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Also Known as
Haldi, Manjal podi
Turmeric powder is a bright yellow spice powder made from dried turmeric rhizomes. While its slightly peppery and warm flavour; vibrant colour; and preservative properties make it a great culinary ingredient, the presence of ‘curcumin’ makes is suitable for cosmetic and medicinal purposes too. Records show that turmeric has been used for such purposes as early as 3000 years ago, during the ancient Vedic times. Turmeric is also used in Hindi spiritual ceremonies and prayers.
How to Select
• Although turmeric powder is readily available at almost all grocery stores and supermarkets, it is advisable to buy only good brands and from only reliable sources as it is prone to contamination and artificial colouring to make it attractive.
• Always verify the freshness, by checking the date of packaging and expiry, and buy only a fresh lot for maximum flavour and aroma.
• When time permits, it is better to buy the dried rhizomes and grind them yourself to avoid additives and contamination.
• Turmeric is an indispensable spice, which imparts a musky flavour and yellow colour to curries.
• Almost all Indian vegetable dishes use turmeric either separately or as part of the masala (spice mixture).
• It is also used in recipes comprising rice, lentils and dry beans.
• A small pinch of turmeric powder would is enough to add a pleasant orange-yellow hue to salad dressings.
• As awareness about the ill effects of pesticides and fertilisers rises, people have started soaking and rinsing their vegetables and greens in water mixed with turmeric and salt, as it helps remove a lot of chemicals from the surface.
How to Store
• Turmeric powder should be stored in a cool and dry place away from sunlight.
• Too much heat will volatilise and dissipate its aromatic essential oils, while high humidity will cause it to cake. Sunlight will cause it to fade.
• Older stock should always be used first.
• Tightly close the container after each use to retain its aroma and flavour.
• Turmeric powder is an effective remedy for chronic cough, cold and throat irritations. Milk boiled with a pinch of turmeric powder and ajwain had with a little honey gives immediate relief.
• Turmeric powder mixed with lime and salt helps in treating sprains and swellings.
• Turmeric powder is often used to stop the blood run resulting from a knife cut or other small wounds.
• Curcumin, a potent antioxidant, is believed to be the most bioactive and soothing portion of turmeric.