Have you noticed that knobby, funny-looking, little root piled high at the produce section of your market lately? Nope, it’s not fresh ginger. Not, some new exotic vegetable either. It is turmeric root, and fresh turmeric root can brighten a dish with flavor as well its neon golden-yellow hue. And, oh yes – it can provide some major health benefits, too — especially if you use it the correct way!
I have used powdered turmeric in many dishes and began using the fresh turmeric root this past winter when I spotted it at the market. I had been primarily grating it over roasted vegetables and to make this delicious way to unwind, but I have been chopping it up in a few more things lately and thought I would share this simple salad dressing you may want to keep around for a quick and highly nutritious dish, too.
Without sounding . . . well, like some swaggering, know-it-all cook (which I am not, I assure you), this recipe is special – particularly in the sense that it opens the door wide to all those health benefits of curcumin – the main healthy ingredient in fresh turmeric. Of course, it does taste great, too! But, come see why you may want to use turmeric in your cooking this way — the right way!
HOW TO COOK WITH FRESH TURMERIC TO REAP HEALTH BENEFITS
- Curcumin is the main active healthy nutrient in both fresh and dried turmeric, but it is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream. However. studies show if consumed with black pepper, the absorption is increased – quite a bit.
- Curcumin is fat soluble, so it may be a good idea to consume it along with some healthy fat in the dish as well to absorb it best.
- Fresh turmeric, like fresh anything, has a brighter flavor than the dried. The dried is very healthful, too, but the fresh has not been heated or processed in any way.
- Fresh turmeric can be rather expensive so freeze it like fresh ginger and pull it out when needed to grate or chop.
- I typically do not peel it before using it because the roots are usually thin but, depending on how tender or mature it is, you may want to scrape off the peel before using it.
- Check out what readers suggest from a favorite blog on getting turmeric stains out of your countertop. That glow I was talking about? It is intense and I don’t want it to stain your pretty kitchen or your clothes.
WHAT TURMERIC CAN DO FOR YOUR HEALTH
- The curcumin in turmeric may be able to prevent damages to blood vessels and the build-up of plaque that can lead to heart attack, stroke, and atherosclerosis.
- Curcumin may provide an inexpensive and effective treatment for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) such as Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis.
- Turmeric could aid in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease to aid in blocking the formation of plaque that contributes to the disease.
- Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory compounds could aid in decreasing arthritic symptoms.
- Turmeric is being studied widely for the potential aid in some cancer treatment and prevention.
HEALTHY RECIPE: DELICIOUS TURMERIC, AVOCADO SALAD DRESSING
- 1 1-inch piece (or thereabouts) peeled, fresh turmeric
- 1/2 large or one small avocado (This is why the fat in avocado is so great.)
- 1 small clove garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon unpasteurized white miso (Check out this post on miso and its extraordinary cooking powers.)
- 2 tablespoons unpasteurized apple cider vinegar or other favorite vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon raw honey (Learn why raw is the way to go!)
- Several grinds of black pepper (See above why this is an important ingredient as black pepper improves the bioavailability of turmeric.)
- ¼ teaspoon pink salt (Make the switch to pink salt and why here.)
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (another healthy fat!)
- Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Taste and adjust seasoning. Thin with a teaspoon of water at a time, if too thick.
- Store in a glass jar in the fridge for a few days.