Monthly Archives: January 2016

Turmeric

I was out Wednesday morning helping with recess duty at my kids school. Wednesday was cold and windy. I noticed on my phone that a warning had popped up predicting gale force winds for the day. I mentally braced myself for the cold. I made my tea, dressed in layers and headed for my charge. At school, the kids could choose to be inside if they wanted but I was shocked at how many chose to be outdoors, running on ice, playing in snow and frolicking about as kids do. We spent a good twenty minutes making massive emojies in the clean snow for fun. Boy, we are raising a hearty type of kid here in these parts who won’t let a little or even a lot of cold stop them from their fun! I’ll admit I felt good too. I am so often stuck indoors, at a desk, for unnatural amounts of time that I dare say it’s made me soft. Being out with the kids and the cold for an hour really got my circulation going.

smileyface

I had made myself some turmeric tea to take along and nurse me through the cold morning. Turmeric is one of my favorite spices. Do I say that about all of them? Well, they all have their place and use, for sure. Turmeric however, is a superstar spice that not only lends amazing color and flavor to our foods but also offers major benefits for our body and brain.

Fresh turmeric

Turmeric, Curcuma longa, is a perennial plant that is harvested for its root. It contains large amounts of curcumin which is an active compound that offers anti-inflammatory and strong anti-oxidant properties. That means it is a great plant source to add into your diet. A little tip for optimizing turmeric absorption within the body is to add a touch of pepper to it. Pepper contains an alkaloid called Piperine, which makes the curcumin more absorbable within the body. So how do you add more of this superspice to your diet? Here are a few of my favorite ways:

*Stir Fry:add extra turmeric, pepper and curry blend to coconut milk and your vegetables and/or poultry dish for a delicious and nutritious meal.
*Turmeric Golden Tea: Simmer turmeric with milk and honey to make an earthy and comforting beverage. I always add a touch of pepper and ginger to my tea (because I adore ginger too).
*Eggs: add a touch into your scrambled eggs, frittata, or tofu scramble.
*Rice: Toss into the water while cooking. The color and mild warming flavor add an easy and subtle hue and flavor to the rice.
*Soups: Toss some turmeric into your soup base. It pairs well with root veggies and thrown into a chicken soup is a natural use as it offers a beautiful golden hue
*Sauteed greens like kale or chard are delicious with some olive oil, turmeric, mustard, garlic and sea salt.
Experiment and spice up life in 2016!

Written by Melissa Spencer for the Monadnock Ledger Trancript

Curry

Heart made of Chili Pepper. Isolated on a white. 3D High-quality rendering

“I do not like Curry, it’s too spicy!”. This statement is one I have heard many times. Right off the bat I would like to state that curry is not necessarily spicy in the HOT sense of the word. The definition of both “SPICY” and “CURRY” really leaves things open to a lot of confusion. Because I really love many curries and I don’t wish anyone else to miss out on such a nutritious, diverse and delectable type of food I will try my very best to bring some clarity to the issue.

SPICY: Most of the time when people ask if something is spicy they are referring to the hot burning sensation that scientist often describe as “pungent” to avoid the confusion with something that simply has a lot of flavor. The presence of irritant compounds like capsaicin in chilies and piperine in black pepper are responsible for this burning feeling.

CURRY: When most people think of curry they think of curry powder, the ubiquitous yellow spice blend sold in the U.S. We carry a yellow curry powder in our shop. It is a blend of Coriander, Turmeric, Fenugreek, Chilies, Black Mustard, Fennel, Garlic, Cumin, Cloves and Salt. It’s got just a touch of heat from the small amount of Chilies present but nothing overwhelming. Indeed many curries are prepared with a yellow powder such as this but there are endless combinations and ratios of spices that could go into a curry powder and into a curry.

Spices Curry, Saffron, Turmeric

Curry as a dish is actually a very broad term to describe meats, vegetables and legumes prepared with spices. The types of dish vary tremendously throughout India and southeast Asia. Wether or not chilies or other hot spices are added depends entirely on the dish, the region and the person preparing it. Spices commonly included in the Indian subcontinent include cumin, coriander and turmeric.

So in essence: Yes a curry powder or a curry dish may be spicy- in the hot sense of the word but it certainly doesn’t have to be! It does, however have to contain spices….or else it wouldn’t, by definition, be a curry.