Turmeric has been a favourite ingredient of mine for a long time now, primarily due to the endless health attributes, the crisp, raw essence and its ability to be matched with numerous flavour profiles.
We have discovered a great supplier of raw turmeric rhizome at our local produce market. The turmeric is sourced from local farms practicing only chemical free farming techniques, ensuring ultimate freshness - often only 3 days from harvest.
It is very easy to grow your own turmeric plant. Favourable conditions are sub-tropical climates with temperatures ranging from 20-30 degrees celcius, with a healthy balance of rainfall and sunsnine. Once the turmeric rhizome begins to sprout (after a few days left on the bench top), simply plant it where there is good soil and medium drainage. I was suprised at the noticible daily growth spurts - in only two weeks, it grew from underground to a healthy 10cm stalk with fully developed leaves. Such beautiful foliage.
We began by adding the turmeric to our cooking, and quickly discovered that to get the most out of the rhizome, the cellular walls need to be broken. This can be done by grating on a ginger grater, or smashing it into a paste with a mortar and pestle. We added it to curry paste, béchamel sauce, dhal, salad, soup, juice.....and of course, tea.
Turmeric makes fantastic tea! It can be made on water or milk, with/without honey, ginger, cinnamon, vanilla, added to chai and even cacao. Fresh turmeric produces an intense, golden orange liquor and it is easy to be taken for a few moments, simply by admiring it's dramatic, complexion.
The pigment comes from the presence of a constituant called curcumin, a super nutrient which has the demonstrated ability to dramatically lower the risk from cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer`s disease. For centuries, tumeric has been used in indigenous medicine practices to treat inflammatory conditions, depression and promote wound healing.
Below is a step by step guide for making turmeric tea. There can be many variants. Tumeric is easy to work with and this is a great place to start. You are only limited by your imagination.....
To begin with, you will need a chopping board to work on, as the turmeric is known for leaving behind a brilliant yellow stain. It will fade after a few days. Other items needed are; a ginger grater or mortar and pestle, a strainer and a small saucepan.
You can substitute the lemon myrtle with chamomile or a black tea of your choice. You could also add other spices such as cinnamon, cardamom or cloves.
Here we have used oat milk. Almond, soy and dairy milk also work well.
Macadamia honey adds a nice earthy sweetness.