Turmeric is a rhizome native to India and Southeast Asia. Tumeric has a warm,bitter, black pepper-like flavor where it's most commonly used in savory and curry recipes. Tumeric is used in East Asian pickle recipes, in Iranian khoresh recipes, in Moroccan ras el hanout spice mixes, in Thai curry bases and in Vietnamese mi quang dishes. Tumeric leaves are used to steam rice in Indonesia and in Hawaii they're used to poach fish.
Turmeric has been used for thousands of years in Asia as a major part of Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine. In Ayurveda turmeric is used to balance vata, pitta, and kapha. It has a particular affinity for the blood where it promotes digestion, reduces inflammation, bolsters the immune system, supports liver function, and maintains comfortable joint movement. More recently, it has gained a reputation for its anti-depressant qualities and as an antibacterial agent. Although the science is mixed on its health benefits the bioavailability of curcumin, turmeric's active ingredient, seems to be most potent when the rhizome is consumed fresh.
At Versailles Farms we source our rhizomes from Hawaii and start growing in January in a steam bath. We transplant the sprouted root into our wetlands beds in May where they need little attention until harvest. Turmeric also can withstand higher summer temperatures.
We dehydrate our turmeric at the end of the season where we combine it with ginger to make a cleansing hot tea. We enjoy this tea throughout the year to stimulate agni (digestive fire) and to reduce ama (toxins).