Versatile Turmeric

April 11, 2016
Barbara Ellington photo Turmeric Paste

Jamaican-grown turmeric is now one of the sexy miracle roots that is available in teabag form and everyone with a pain in their joint is consuming it by the mugful. It is supposed to offer relief from arthritis and other joint pains. Well, after three weeks' use, all I got was a permanently stained cup that took a whole heap of bleach to clean.

Before news of its miraculous properties emerged, turmeric was something I saw my granny using to make some very tasty curry dishes. It stands to reason that this would be so, since we can purchase powdered turmeric in supermarkets for this favourite dish.

Sadly, I had to buy the imported product since our farmers have not seen the benefits of growing it in commercial quantities. When combined with curry powder, gera and anise seeds, this elevates every curry dish.

Before I started growing my own, my supplier also told me how to prepare it so that I can simply reach for a refrigerated bottle and use the desired amount.

How to prepare turmeric paste

1. Wash the pieces of turmeric thoroughly with a brush and then rinse. Do not peel, just make sure the pieces are very clean.

2. Put in a pot and make sure the water covers the amount you have put in then bring to the boil.

3. Cook slowly until the pieces are tender when you stick a fork through them.

4. Let cool, then, wearing a glove, cut up the pieces and put them in the blender with just enough water to puree.

5. It should be fairly thick ... just enough to run slowly from the blender, then you can store in clean and sterilised glass jars. Leave bottles open as the mixture will expand and excess water will run over if you allow pressure to build up. Very gently knock bottles on kitchen counter until it all goes back into place. Close tightly and refrigerate.

This can be used instead of curry powder or you can add a teaspoon to your cup of hot water for tea.

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