Turmeric - an easy to grow super-food
Turmeric grows so easily in the tropics and subtropics, and has an insanely long list of health benefits. That has led to a plethora of information on the internet, mostly aimed at selling turmeric in one form or another. And, I'm sure, all well-intentioned.
The good news is that if you grow even a little of your own food, live in the tropics or subtropics or can dedicate some sheltered space to it, turmeric is incredibly easy to grow yourself.
Turmeric enjoys the same growing conditions as ginger, which I described here. The only difference is that turmeric is tougher. I've tried my darnedest to neglect my turmeric out of existence, and it just keeps popping up, year after year.
And when you eat the whole food, fresh from the soil at your place, you can bin all those other supplements, save yourself a packet, and enjoy all those fancy health benefits without having to sort through the bullet point lists of what they are. This is RealFood.
The most delicious way to enjoy fresh, whole turmeric that I know of is in a hot mug of turmeric milk, also called golden milk, of Ayurvedic origin.
Golden Milk Recipe
Here's our basic recipe:
- a few bits of turmeric root (enough to give 1 to 2 tablespoons when grated) fresh from the garden, washed under running water, towel dried, and grated (don't bother peeling)
- (optional) a small bit of ginger root (about a teaspoon grated). You don't have to peel this, either. Note that if you use super fresh ginger, it may curdle your milk. Go for the ginger you dug up last week and haven't gotten around to preserving or replanting.
- (optional) a pinch of pepper (Pepper famously has a compound in it that may help you better absorb the beneficial curcumin in the turmeric. Keep in mind that if you're eating an isolated compound from a food -- such as curcumin from turmeric--then you need all the help you can get to digest and make use of it. But if you're eating the whole food as we are here, there are countless co-factors included in it, all available to your body in the exact balance it needs -- so don't get too hung up on the pepper thing. Read more about all this, here.)
- a desert spoonful of coconut oil (optional -- I add this because I like the flavor, coconut oil has many health benefits, and turmeric may be better absorbed by your body in the presence of fat)
- three cups of milk (whatever kind takes your fancy)
- honey to taste
Heat all the ingredients except the honey in a pan till barely simmering. Keep it there until you can't wait any longer, or for up to 5 minutes. Cool slightly, add honey to taste, and enjoy.
Serves 3. Or 2 if one of you likes this as much as my son does.
Makes a comforting and delicious bedtime beverage. (Go easy on the pepper if you tend toward poor sleep, as pepper is a stimulant. Without the pepper, it should aide sleep or at least not hinder it.)
Read more about golden milk from an Ayurvedic perspective, here.
Does turmeric grow where you live? Do you have a favourite golden milk recipe?
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