Closely associated with the other members of the ginger family, turmeric is a perennial herb inherent to India.The herb itself is derived from the root (rhizome) of the plant Curcuma longa, which is dried out before the useful powdered form can be acquired. Precise temperature and environment are required for it to thrive, so it is not commonly cultivated throughout the world however, it is exported because of its desirability. The bright yellow colour of this herb is conceivably its most striking characteristic which can leave its traces on your hands and clothes while cooking. It will wash out, but not easily! You’ve unquestionably seen it, even if you haven’t recognized it, and if you have ever enjoyed Indian food, you have almost surely consumed it.
Turmeric has a pungent, earthy odor. The flavor of turmeric can be defined as a little bitter, a little peppery like mustard or horseradish, with a bit ginger in flavor. It's every so often used for coloring more than for the flavor. If you decide to leave it out of a recipe, you may not notice a considerable change in flavor, however, the dish won't be as golden as desired. Due to the pigmentation qualities, it is sometimes substituted for saffron, but that adds a little bitterness that might not be desired. A suitable substitute for turmeric in a recipe is dry mustard.
Turmeric powder is commonly available in spice sections of grocery stores and is quite easy to find at an international market. Dried turmeric is made by boiling the rhizomes, drying them in a hot oven, and finally grinding the dried roots. Similar to many dried spices, it will lose its potency in about six months, so you should consider rotating your stock.
Fresh turmeric is difficult to find but definitely worth the hunt. Looking at a well-stocked international can often solve your problem. Turmeric is also used in many spice blends, such as basic curry powder, where it is always on the ingredient list. If you observe the blend has a yellow color, it is most often due to turmeric. It is also an ingredient in Worcestershire sauce and is often used as the coloring agent in yellow mustard, relishes, and pickles.
You may be confused about curcumin, as it’s usually associated with turmeric. Curcumin is a component which is an active ingredient in turmeric. It consists of curcuminoids along with a family of active compounds. In other words, the main compound of curcumin is curcuminoids. Turmeric has a yellow color due to these curcuminoids. Three types of curcuminoids are found in turmeric, which are Demethoxycurcumin, Dihydrocurcumin, and 5’- Methoxycurcumin.
The antibacterial property of curcumin makes it beneficial for health, and its antioxidant properties have the ability to fight bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Curcumin is unaccompanied from turmeric and sold as a health supplement. It is the most bioactive component of turmeric.