Turmeric: 5 things you should know about the spice du jour
Some of you may have seen the Guardian article featuring Modern Baker’s turmeric mylk and illustrating our turmeric and honey biscuits. The article has now been shared well over 13,500 times and more turmeric treats have been flying off the counter than ever.
Health publications long ago declared 2016 the year or turmeric, and many of you will already know of the powerful health boosting qualities of this spice, which Western scientists are even beginning to consider in medicine.
As a bakery using only natural ingredients, turmeric is a gift, as we have to work hard for colour on the counter. We love it for its vibrant, rich colour and as a great unifier of flavours – it has a hint of umami about it – as much as for its multifarious healing properties.
Word continues to spread about our turmeric lattes. I recently served a couple who had seen an article about Modern Baker in the paper edition of the India Times. It turns out we’ve been featured in over a dozen Asian publications, on our delicious turmeric mylk. The thrust of all the articles is amusement at this trending of a ‘grandmother’ drink. According to our Indian customers turmeric milk has long been a staple of Ayurvedic medicine in India, where it’s called Desi Haldi Doodh (desi meaning pure, haldi turmeric, doodh milk). It’s the bane of many people’s childhoods because their grandmothers, knowing of its healing properties, used to force them to drink it by the bucket – particularly when they were unwell. They are now changing their opinions. They like our variant, served with almond milk, and also “dirty” i.e. with a shot of coffee.
Here are 5 facts about turmeric.
- 1. It is anti-bacterial and an anti-inflammatory, and shown in some studies to be as effective as ibuprofen for easing pain. Reading around forums on the subject you will find some incredible stories from former “natural medicine” skeptics. The spice is even being recommended in an article on post-surgery pain relief by surgerysupplements.com
- 2. Counter-intuitively it’s becoming popular in skin-care, thanks to its detoxifying properties.
- 3. Turmeric’s active ingredient is curcumin which contains the beautiful bright yellow pigment, and which scientists are studying for its incredible ability to target multiple forms of disease and keeping cancer at bay. (Curcumin makes up around three per cent of turmeric root.)
- 4. For turmeric to be really useful for its health properties it should to be combined with black pepper. Curcumin is more bio-available when combined with black pepper and/or boiled in hot water before eating. That’s why both the turmeric mylk blends we sell – our own blend based on an Ayurvedic recipe and another blend by Wunder Workshop – contain pepper. It’s also why brewing turmeric as a tea, for up to 10 or 15 minutes, is a good idea.
- 5. Because it’s such a culinary masterpiece and an easy ingredient to consume in food, the best way to start benefiting from its magical properties is to incorporate it into your kitchen repertoire. It’s especially beneficial when combined with fats, so in stews, salad dressing, stir-fry… Later this week we will be posting tips on how to build more turmeric into your diet, as well as advice on which turmeric brands we love.