Turmeric is a gorgeous yellow spice known to be a powerful superfood. Through centuries of traditional use and plenty of modern scientific research, Turmeric has demonstrated remarkable abilities to benefit human health. Let’s dig deep into all things Turmeric!
What is Turmeric?
Turmeric ( Curcuma longa) is a flowering plant native to Southeast Asia. Turmeric is a member of the Ginger family (Zingiberaceae), and sometimes even referred to as “yellow ginger.” The part of the Turmeric used for cooking and health is the rhizome, a word that comes from the Greek for “mass of roots.” A rhizome is actually different than a root—it’s like a long tuber that grows horizontally underground. Each section or node of a rhizome has the potential to sprout roots below and leaves above… each piece contains the whole.
Once the rhizome sprouts, Turmeric begins a journey into splendor. Pale shoots stretch upward and quickly grow dark green leaves on a sturdy stem. The mature plant can be up to six feet high, and it blooms in a whorl of gorgeous petals. After harvest, the clusters of rhizomes are washed and then gently processed as powders or extracts.
While the dirt-bound Turmeric rhizome may seem unassuming at first glance, generations of cooks and healers have found that it hides bright gold. Turmeric’s distinctive saffron color and earthy taste give many curries, pickles, and condiments their sunny look and complex character.