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Turmeric

Celebrated for its golden color and its mustard-like taste, turmeric is a key ingredient in curries and stews across Asia. Added to cakes or steamed milk, turmeric is an unexpected treat at the end of a meal. Buddhist monastic robes, the walls of the temple in Jejuri, and Ayurvedic remedies across India all have turmeric in common.

The Spice House
The Spice House

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In Asia, turmeric powder's main use for thousands of years was as a dyestuff. At one time, sun worshipers, whose sacred color was yellow, dyed their textiles with the very expensive saffron. When it was discovered that the very inexpensive turmeric produced the same brilliant color, the sacred saffron was guarded for special culinary dishes. To this day, some Hindu brides paint themselves with turmeric as part of the wedding ceremony, while married women rub it into their cheeks to give an attractive golden glow. In Asia, turmeric is considered a good luck charm; newborn babies might have it rubbed on their forehead, or a bit of the root may be made into a necklace for them to wear. Turmeric is a member of the ginger family and is an essential for making curries. Its golden-color can replicate saffron's coloring for dishes, but not its distinct flavor due to turmeric being more mustard-like in taste. You can also use turmeric in cakes or to make the increasingly popular golden milk latte.

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