Turmeric is a plant native to southern Asia the Zingiberaceae family, like ginger, galangal or cardamom.
It consists of numerous aromatic rhizomes or roots that are orange-yellow inside. Turmeric requires a lot of sunshine and a fertile soil. It is suitable for areas subject to monsoon like Southeast Asia. Turmeric has been cultivated in India since antiquity. It is this spice that gives the yellow hue color to curry spice blend, but also garam masala, vaudouvan or ras el hanout in North Africa.
It is obviously used to produce yellow food dyes.
Indian medicine has used since the turmeric rhizome since ancient times for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. It is also frequently used in Western medicine for the treatment of certain ulcers, inflammations associated with rheumatoid arthritis, diarrhea, seizures, or certain skin diseases.
The turmeric rhizome is typically dried and ground. It is then used as a spice and it is under this form of ground spice that it is known throughout the world. Its flavor is quite peppery and aromatic.
Where to find turmeric?
Ground turmeric can easily be found in any supermarket or grocery store. Turmeric rhizome, however, is a bit harder to find but can be in some Asian, Indian grocery stores or even at Whole Foods in the US.