Turmeric adds a beautiful yellow color to dishes along with the familiar “bite” found in curry powder.
Turmeric is a root relative (Curcuma longa) of ginger that is widely used in Indian, Middle Eastern, and Asian dishes. As a spice, it is most commonly found in ground, dried form and sometimes referred to as Indian saffron.
Purchase in small quantities when possible, although as an inexpensive spice, it is tempting to buy large containers. Turmeric becomes unpalatable when used past its shelf life. It will also develop an unpleasant smell.
As with all spices, ground turmeric will remain usable about six months if kept cool, dry, and away from heat and light. It is best stored in a glass or tin container. Fresh roots should be well-wrapped and kept refrigerated.
• When handling fresh turmeric root, wear gloves and protective clothing as the meat will stain. Even the powder, when moistened, acts as a dye.
• Turmeric becomes stronger when cooked and should be added with caution.
• Add to fish stews to reduce the “fishy” taste.
• 2 Tablespoons dried is equal to 1/2 ounce.
• Dry mustard in equal portions.
• Although the more expensive saffron is just as colorful, it is not a good substitute (or vice versa).
Beef, fish, eggs, lentils, potatoes, poultry, rice, shellfish, sour cream, squash
by BigOven team and Steve Murch
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