What to Do With Fresh Turmeric Root

Turmeric is trending! Grab some fresh turmeric root and read on to find out what to do with this exotic ingredient.

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS,
Episode #453

fresh turmeric

Most of us know turmeric as a brilliant orange powder used in Indian and Southeast Asian cooking. It’s one of the primary ingredients in curry powder. And lately, “golden milk,” (a sort of spicy turmeric tea) is trending in everyone’s Instagram feed. 

From a culinary perspective, turmeric adds a warm spiciness and a vivid hue to food. On the health front, turmeric’s big claim to fame is its anti-inflammatory properties. It’s also being studied as a natural hedge against Alzheimer’s disease.

Ground turmeric has long been a staple in my spice cabinet. But a few weeks ago, I came across fresh turmeric in the produce section of my local natural food store. It looks a little bit like ginger root (or, if you’re in a more ghoulish frame of mind, a bit like large insect larvae). Having never seen it before, I bought a couple of pounds and brought it home to experiment.

Although it took me a little while (and some orange-stained fingers) to figure out what to do with it, I’m now a hardcore fan. The flavor of fresh turmeric is much different than the powdered turmeric you may be used to and definitely worth checking out if you can find it. Here are ten fun things to do with turmeric, along with a few tips on how to handle it.

Ten Ways to Use Fresh Turmeric Root

  1. Add grated turmeric root to stews and soups. Although Indian curries are an obvious fit, you can use turmeric in a wide variety of dishes. Try it in a butternut squash or vegetable soup or stir fry.

  2. Add it to rice or other whole grains before cooking. Both the color and flavor will pop.

  3. Stir some grated turmeric root into your tuna, egg, or tofu salad.

  4. Whisk fresh turmeric root into a vinaigrette or any other salad dressing. Drizzle over raw salads or cooked vegetables

  5. Make a compound butter. Mash grated turmeric root and ground black pepper into softened butter and melt over grilled fish or roasted vegetables.

  6. Add a small chunk to your smoothie.

  7. If you own a centrifugal juicer, try juicing some fresh turmeric root and using to spike up other fruit and vegetable juice blends. Pairs especially well with ginger juice.

  8. Add grated turmeric to scrambled or deviled eggs.

  9. Make turmeric tea. Simmer grated turmeric and ginger in hot water for several minutes to make a warming tea.

  10. Try golden milk. Simmer grated turmeric and ginger along with a few black peppercorns, cinnamon stick, and cardamom pods in milk or soymilk for several minutes. Strain and serve with a touch of honey.


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