Turmeric: How to use the popular and healthful spice in more ways

From tea to soup, here's how to incorporate the spice into more of your dishes

Lemonade cocktail with turmeric from Model Milk.
Lemonade cocktail with turmeric from Model Milk.

Turmeric may be in vogue now, but it’s anything but new.

The world (at least our corner of the world) has recently become rather enamoured with the ancient rhizome, but it has a long history of medicinal healing, like its anti-inflammatory properties, and culinary uses in south Asia, mostly in India, China and Indonesia.

Today in North America, the intensely yellow cousin to ginger is being praised by medical and holistic professionals alike for its myriad of health benefits, and it’s being used in everything from beauty products to cocktails.

Researchers believe that turmeric is so effective because  it contains curcumin, which has been shown to stimulate blood flow, relieve gas, promote ovulation in women. It is also claimed to be antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial and great for the complexion. On a more serious note, the so-called “miracle” spice is believed to help protect against Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, Crohn’s disease, liver damage, stomach ulcers, cancer and more. Talk about the ultimate supplement.

In response to all the recent studies indicating its health-promoting, vigor-inducing, disease-preventing and overall life-improving properties, here are 10 simple ways to incorporate the spice into your daily diet.

Customized curry blend

Turmeric is most famous for being the main act (and colour) in curry, and it’s so much better to customize your own blend rather than to use the store bought variety. Try mixing different proportions of coriander, cumin, turmeric, cayenne and paprika.

Turmeric tea

It's one of the most effective ways of ingesting the root daily. Stir two teaspoons of ground turmeric into two cups of boiling water. Add honey and freshly-squeezed lemon juice to your heart’s content.

Variation: Make a golden milk tea by simmering almond milk (or another nut milk), turmeric, ginger, honey, a bit of coconut oil and any spices you'd like.

Brighten up dull dishes

Toss a dash of turmeric into couscous, rice, quinoa, mashed potatoes, cheese sauce or scrambled eggs for added colour. It won’t alter the flavour much, just gives it a vibrant pop of colour to satisfy your eyes-ppetite.

Table turmeric

If you’re on a real health kick, simply add some to your salt shaker, or maybe even add a turmeric-only shaker on the table, and sprinkle away.

Add to a smoothie, juice or even cocktail

Making a nutritious smoothie is a morning routine that you probably already have. You won’t notice a difference in taste; but you’ll be slowly invigorating your body, one morning at a time. Or, add a touch of turmeric in your gin or vodka cocktail for a bright sunshine hue. 

Make homemade mustard

Look at the ingredients on the back of a jar of mustard, and you'll notice that turmeric is what gives mustard that brilliant colour. For an all natural, homemade version, soak about 1/2 cup of mustard seeds in water and vinegar (to cover), then blend into a paste with one teaspoon each of turmeric and salt. 

Add to broth or stock

Add a few teaspoons to your stock to fortify any soup, like the fall favourites, from chunky minestrone to butternut squash. It's a double whammy of benefits for fighting the common cold.

Make natural food colouring

Boil water and whisk in enough turmeric to create the desired shade of yellow, and then boil for five minutes. Allow it to cool and store in the fridge. You can add it to frostings for a bold yellow.

Put it in your salad

Sprinkle a pinch directly on your salad or blend it into pretty much any homemade salad dressing.

Better with butter

Whip some into your table butter and spread on bagels, bread or pancakes.