[ Turmeric: The Golden Spice ] ~ from Monterey Bay Herb Company
Turmeric may seem like an exotic spice, but most people consume it every day without even realizing it. Ground from the dried rhizome of a semi-aquatic plant native to the tropical forests of southern Asia, turmeric is featured in the chicken tikka masala served at your favorite Indian restaurant as well as in the mustard that topped the last ball park hot dog you had. It’s widely used as a coloring agent in a variety of processed and prepared foods, such as margarine, cheese, pickles, ice cream, orange juice, yogurt, cereals, and yellow cake mixes.

For the adventurous home cook, turmeric presents many culinary possibilities. It lends brilliant golden color to vegetables, soups, stews, meats and other foods and a sharp, earthy flavor with peppery undertones. It’s a key ingredient in curry powders and spice blends featured in Caribbean, Indian, Middle Eastern, North African and Asian cuisines. The spice also yields a vibrant yellow-to-gold dye that is used to add color to various textiles, including wool and leather.

[ Turmeric: The Golden Spice - Turmeric Traditions ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

turmeric traditions

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a spice of antiquity, with a history of use dating back thousands of years. In fact, there is archeological evidence that this member of the ginger family was used in cooking as long ago as 2500 BCE in India. In Medieval Europe, turmeric was referred to as Indian saffron because it was a cheaper alternative to saffron threads.

The spice is considered sacred in India, perhaps because its vibrant color is associated with fertility and the sacral chakra, the energy channel located just below the navel in the human body. To this day, turmeric plays a key role in traditional wedding ceremonies and in Hindu spiritual observations.

[ Turmeric: The Golden Spice - Golden Milk aka Haldi Ka Doodh  ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

golden milk

This ancient Ayurvedic formula is enjoyed all over the world today, but has been a part of daily life throughout Asia for centuries. The occupants of the Japanese island of Okinawa, for instance, who are reputed to live exceptionally long lives, regularly partake of golden milk.

Also known as Haldi Ka Doodh, golden milk is generally a simple-to-make concoction that usually consists of just a few ingredients. However, many households have their own unique recipes that are passed from one generation to the next. Turmeric remains the star ingredient, followed by a variety of spices and herbs. Black pepper is the most common accompaniment, not only for flavor but because it contains an enzyme called piperine that increases absorption of turmeric. Other ingredients found in golden milk may include ginger, cardamom, dates, cinnamon, vanilla, cayenne, and ashwagandha.

[ Turmeric: The Golden Spice - Adding a Turmeric Twist ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

turmeric coffee, tea, or latte?

Remember our long-living friends in Okinawa? Turmeric tea is so much a part of daily life there that it is available canned and in instant powdered form in just about any local shop. Many people make up their own version of the latter in batches so it’s ready to steep in warm milk or hot water when needed.

Coffee fans will appreciate the eye-opening flavors of turmeric and cinnamon in their morning brew. These two spices not only complement each other flavor-wise, but also serve up a generous supply of antioxidants. Just add ½ teaspoon of each spice to the ground coffee in the brew basket. Then whisk your spiced coffee with almond or coconut milk, and you can start your day with a rich and creamy turmeric latte.

[ Turmeric: The Golden Spice - Trying Turmeric Tonic ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

turmeric tonics & smoothies

Tonics and smoothies fortified with turmeric offer another flavorful and nutritious way to prepare for the day ahead, or a boost when you feel your energy lagging in the afternoon.

Suitable pairings to enhance your tonic and smoothie recipes are considerably varied. Orange, lemon, melon, pineapple, mango and strawberries are excellent choices in the fruit category, while goji berries, chia seeds (in very small amounts), ground flax seeds, kale and other “superfoods” round out the beverage with additional antioxidants and nutrients. Matcha tea and even chocolate (or carob) are good choices. Experimentation is encouraged!

[ Turmeric: The Golden Spice - Drinking with Turmeric ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

drinking with

turmeric tea mix recipe
Keep this mixture in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid in a cool dark place. Ready when you want it!
Gather these: turmeric, cinnamon, ground ginger, and ground black pepper.

sweet and creamy turmeric latte recipe
Be sure to use full-fat coconut milk in this recipe for best results. Alternatively, you can use almond milk. The brew will be just as tasty, but not as creamy.
Gather these: turmeric, ground cinnamon, and ground cardamom.

turmeric tonic with ginger & lemon recipe
Loaded with antioxidants and vitamin C, this tasty tonic is a great way to start the day or the perfect afternoon pick-me-up.
Gather these: turmeric, and ground ginger.

berry citrus turmeric smoothie recipe
Turmeric and orange juice add tang while strawberries and goji berries provide sweetness and a bit of texture.
Gather these: turmeric, goji berries, and ground ginger.

[ Turmeric: The Golden Spice - Gather These Spices ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

botanicals and spices for turmeric drink recipes

[ Turmeric - The Golden Spice ] ~ from Monterey Bay Herb Company
[ Turmeric - The Golden Spice: Pair with Ginger ] ~ from Monterey Bay Herb Company ginger root powder: Pungent and slightly spicy, ginger balances the mildly bitter flavor of its botanical cousin turmeric.

[ Turmeric - The Golden Spice: Pair with Astragalus Root ] ~ from Monterey Bay Herb Company astragalus root powder: Also known as “gum dragon,” this adaptogen herb adds a mildly sweet flavor to turmeric smoothies and tonics.

[ Turmeric - The Golden Spice: Pair with Cinnamon ] ~ from Monterey Bay Herb Company cinnamon powder: Ground cinnamon bark provides depth and warmth with a hint of sweetness to turmeric coffees and teas.

[ Turmeric - The Golden Spice: Pair with Flax Seed ] ~ from Monterey Bay Herb Company ground flax seed: This "superfood" can help round out out your beverage with additional antioxidants, nutrients, and fiber.

[ Turmeric - The Golden Spice: Pair with Cardamom ] ~ from Monterey Bay Herb Company cardamom seed powder: The warm, sweet flavor of cardamom pairs beautifully with turmeric and other spices in golden milk, tonics and smoothies.

[ Turmeric - The Golden Spice: Pair with Green Tea ] ~ from Monterey Bay Herb Company green tea powder: Green tea powder lends a "green," earthy flavor to hot or cold turmeric beverages. Do not confuse powdered green tea with "matcha" (finely ground gyokuro green tea).