For a long time considered a not very noble spice turmeric, nicknamed "saffron of the poor" or "saffron of the Indies" (it has no relationship with saffron, but shares the same coloring power), has regained its place of honor.
This spice has been part of human history for at least three thousand years. It was in fact already used by the Assyrians to dye fabrics or by the Indians, who recognized its therapeutic properties and used it in the kitchen. Already 4000 years ago the Indians made extensive use of turmeric, considered a fundamental spice, linked to Hindu religious rituals for its yellow coloring power, related to the sun. Certain hand-dyed fabrics (robes of Buddhist monks), cosmetics used for weddings and holidays (brides' hair), curry, are just some examples of the use of its strong coloring power. Although the date remains uncertain, it seems certain that the Arabs introduced turmeric to Europe. Specialized in the spice trade, they brought it from the Middle East to our borders. They called her kurkum, which means "saffron". The name stuck and gave rise to the word turmeric. Since then, its use has not stopped spreading, in particular thanks to the coloring power that recalls real saffron, which is sold at a much higher price.
The spice that is obtained from turmeric, as we have said, of a beautiful golden yellow color, it contains hundreds of components; however the attention of scholars has focused on one in particular: there curcumin. Based on recent studies it was found that curcumin could be useful in counteracting the onset of numerous cancers. Turmeric is therefore a very similar spice to a drug. It is used for healing, but is first of all added to the daily diet as a preventive measure, so as not to get sick. It is used in traditional Indian and Chinese medicine as a detoxifier for the organism, in particular for the liver, and as an anti-inflammatory. These healthy properties that are attributed to turmeric by popular tradition are the same that are confirmed today by official medicine, also in the light of the numerous studies and discoveries that current science has officially confirmed.
The thing that has "caught" the attention of scholars is the fact that in Asian countries and in particular in India, where the consumption of turmeric is very high, the incidence of tumors is very low.
The plant from which turmeric is obtained is that of Curcuma longa, a plant that lives between 20 and 30 degrees. The first turmeric producer in the world is India with its city Sangli, south of India, which is the main production center.
Turmeric powder is the ingredient that gives curry its characteristic color; the flavor is very volatile while, on the contrary, the color remains unchanged over time. For this reason it is a substance that is widely used in the food industry as a dye. Foods such as cheese, yogurt, mustard, various canned broths and others are often colored and flavored with turmeric derivatives. For a healthy use it is enough to be able to integrate it into our daily diet. A couple of teaspoons a day is the ideal dose; it can be added at the end of cooking of many foods but it can also be added to various types of yogurt or make a sauce. It is important to remember that turmeric should be taken together with black pepper or green tea to facilitate its absorption. Not only. Even the combination with some fat, such as olive oil, butter, or whatever, facilitates the absorption of turmeric.
The rhizome is not normally eaten as such, but washed, blanched, dried and ground into a fine, bright orange powder.