What to Do with Fresh Turmeric

If you have a spice cupboard, chances are you have a jar of turmeric kicking around. But how often do you use the saffron-hued seasoning? Best known as an ingredient in Indian cuisine, turmeric and has been used in India as both a seasoning and a medicine for thousands of years. It’s the spice responsible for giving curries, chutneys, and mustards that deep, golden colour, but there is so much more to this little root.

A relative of ginger and harvested for its rhizomes, fresh turmeric has an earthy, peppery, slightly citrusy, and slightly bitter flavour. While it enhances curries, it adds a delightful kick to soups, smoothies, stir-fries, scrambles, slaws, and salads.

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) looks like a cross between ginger and a small Jerusalem artichoke. When peeled, its bright orange flesh (careful, it stains easily) releases a pungent aroma. Use it fresh like ginger, grated or cut into thin matchsticks, and watch how it transforms a simple salad or smoothie into something lively.

Turmeric contains therapeutic compounds that have been used in Auyervedic medicines for centuries to treat a variety of ailments. One of these compounds, curcumin, contains powerful anti-inflammatory and detoxifying properties, which, when incorporated into food and drink, can be beneficial to one’s health. Further research supports the idea that curcumin can be an effective treatment for fighting heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s, and improving brain function.

Noted for its versatility as a food source and for its health benefits, turmeric has been popping up all over the place these days.

Buy it fresh 

The Root Cellar

1286 Mackenzie Avenue, Victoria, BC

Lifestyles Market

2950 Douglas Street, Victoria, BC

Mother Nature’s Market

240 Cook Street, Victoria, BC

Market on Yates

903 Yates Street, Victoria, BC


Cook it 


Ginger and Turmeric Aromatic Rice – from The Roasted Root

An easy, delicious way to spice up your rice with the contrasting colours, textures and tastes of cranberries and pinenuts. Pair this dish with chicken tikka masala for a complete meal.


Pickle it 

This refrigerator pickled cauliflower dish will have you tickled with how tasty it is and how simple to make.


1 head of cauliflower (cut into small florets)

1 cup rice wine vinegar

1 1/2 cups water

1 tsp pickling salt

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp coriander

1/2 tsp dried turmeric, or 1 tsp fresh turmeric, peeled and finely grated

1 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped

2 Tbsps sugar (optional)


Cut cauliflower into penny size florets and place in a heatproof mixing bowl or jar(s) with lid.

Place rice vinegar, water, salt, cumin, coriander, and turmeric in a pot and bring to a boil.

Remove from heat and pour over cauliflower florets, stirring so everything is evenly covered.

Cool and then refrigerate. Will keep for up to a week.


Dress it


Balsamic, Almond and Turmeric Dressing – from Lemons and Basil

A delicious, versatile dressing that goes well with roasted vegetables, grains, and greens. It has a slightly sweet, tangy, and nutty flavor and the colour is gorgeous, thanks to the turmeric.


Drink it

Fresh tonics and smoothies are an excellent way to showcase turmeric’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Local juice bar Jusu incorporates turmeric into their cold-pressed Hawkeye juice (includes apple, carrot, and orange) and the Double Jointer Mylk (with almond, cardamom, dates, ginger, and vanilla).


Immune Boosting Turmeric Lassi – from Green Kitchen Stories


Bake it


Turmeric Breakfast Muffins – from Green Kitchen Stories

Naturally sweetened with bananas and dates, these muffins are more like a meal than dessert. Bake them on a Sunday and have a quick, nutritious breakfast for the week.


Order it 

Victoria has some excellent Indian restaurants where turmeric is key ingredient in many dishes. If you’re interested in scouting out a dish with turmeric, try an Indian curry or, as mentioned above, a chicken tikka masala.


Research it

The History of Turmeric



Written By:

Holly Brooke is a true B.C. gal. Having lived on the west coast most of her life, except for several years in the Kootenay's where she canoed and fished and lived in a tipi, she's very much at home outdoors and in the kitchen. ...

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