So, you’ve decided you’d like to use more turmeric in your food – an excellent idea by the way – but you are not entirely sure how to best go about it. On this page I will give you a few tips and show you a few tricks to send you on your way towards being a happy turmeric eater.
For a scientific look at turmeric check out my Turmeric as an Anti-inflammatory article.
First off, from a health perspective it doesn’t really matter if you eat it fresh or dried.
But as is the case with most other herbs and spices as well you need to eat more of the fresh version in order to get the same amount of benefit as you would eating the dried version. This is because as herbs dry the water is removed and water makes up a large percentage of plants so the dried variety ends up more concentrated, with less volume. A rough equation I use when trying to decide how much of an herb or spice to use is this:
1 tablespoon fresh = 1 teaspoon dried.
This is true for herbs such as thyme and oregano and also for roots such as ginger and turmeric.
Does fresh turmeric taste different from the dried powder? Yes. At least I think so. But both versions shine on their own. The fresh root has a, well, freshness to it, a hint of acidity which you don’t get with the ground powder. So if you use it in a fruity smoothy then I would go for the fresh root. Be careful when handling the fresh root, though. The deep orange color is a powerful dye and not at all easy to wash off your hands afterwards. Plastic containers are also affected by this dye so pay attention to how and where you store it. And if your blender is plastic, then be prepared to live with some discoloration.
You can also use the fresh root in cooked dishes, like curries. Here the root should be finely grated so you don’t end up biting into hard chunks. To be honest I don’t bother with the fresh root when making curries. I find it too much of a yellow hassle to deal with and the dried powder works perfectly fine.