Turmeric is the superfood of the moment: just think that in the past 5 years, Google searches concerning the Indian root have grown by 75%. It is mainly its therapeutic properties that make it so popular: turmeric is in fact antioxidant and anti-inflammatory; it strengthens the immune system, facilitates digestion and – according to research by the University of California published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry in 2018 – it also may prevent memory loss.
We do not always know how to use it as a cooking ingredient though. Is it better to use fresh turmeric or dried turmeric powder? In tea or chopped and eaten? “It is important to know the related chemistry and the cooking techniques to benefit of its truly useful nutritional strengths”, explains Fern Green, a food-stylist and chef, author of Curcuma. La Bibbia (Turmeric: the bible), a book including 65 creative recipes involving the Indian root. Green states that turmeric is perfect when paired with foods rich in quercetin (peppers, onions, and capers), a substance that boosts its beneficial effects. She also recommends: add a half-teaspoon of the root in its powder version when sautéing. Or try it with golden milks – the drinks used in Ayurveda treatments, based on oils and butters (cocoa, cashews, oat or almond milk) – flavouring them using turmeric powder. Use it fresh in hot water, instead, when preparing detox tea. Keep an eye on time though: do not soak it for over 15 minutes, as the heat may subsequently spoil the root. Want a last word of advice? In savoury recipes, always add a pinch of black pepper: it will facilitate the body’s absorption of the turmeric.