Turmeric is a member of the ginger family, Zingerberacae. (Nice word!)
It is a root (tuber) which looks similiar to ginger but smaller and darker, more yellow-brownish on the outside and orangish on the inside, which when ground looks bright yellow.
I hear yesterday that they can be bought in Chinatown and Kensington market ..and many little Indian shops also. I like the idea of getting it raw an grinding it myself. It's called red ginger.
Turmeric is considered a superfood, an incredible antioxidant.
Many people use it (esp. in India) as an antiseptic. It is frequently what is used when someone cuts or burns themselves, or even for bruises.
It is a natural antibiotic.
'Turmeric, under the name Avea, is used to relieve depression.' (wikipedia)
Turmeric mixed with flax oil can be used as a salve to rub on sore or inflamed joints to take pain away. (great for arthritis)
Turmeric water is an Asian cosmetic used to give a 'golden' glow to the skin.
There are some spices that do not taste great on their own, but when mixed with other flavours, they are amazing. Like Garlic, which is also very much like that. Turmeric is the main spice in curry.
Curry also has coriander, cumin and fenugreek.. and may also include, depending on the recipe: ginger, garlic, fennel , mustard, clove, cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon, and red or black pepper.
I am off tomorrow morning, bright and early.. going to Erika's Raw Retreat, her beautiful home in Prince Edward County for the weekend, coming back Sunday. I am off to go work and pack today.. and pray the videocamera comes this morning- slim chance tho, only a couple days and sent regular mail. I will have fun with that though when it comes.. wonder if I can figure out videoblogging.. how cool would that be? : )
Oh, just thought of a video to add.. on Cayenne. This was good.. Enjoy!
pic from http://www.sallys-place.com/food/columns/ramachandran/turmeric.htm