I can hear you out there now: “OK. You sold me on turmeric. But where the HECK do I get it, and how do I use it?”
(By the way - that's me over there to the right with some of our turmeric babies).
Remember how I said NOT to use that old spice jar in the back of your cabinet? Yeah. Go ahead and throw that out. It may still have the flavor, but health-wise, it’s pretty worthless.
And full disclosure, our family farm has a BIG crop of it growing right now. And yes, it’s organic. And American-grown. And we are patenting our processing method! The process is super cool because it makes the curcumin in the turmeric so much more bioavailable! But sorry, you can’t have it yet, because it takes FIVE-EVER (the expression my niece made up, longer than FOUR-EVER) to grow. Seriously, this stuff grows for about 8 months. But soon, friends, we will be selling our VERY unique product! For now, go HERE and sign up for our email list, and I promise you’ll get the first chance to buy it.
OK, so for now, here are the options currently available to you: raw turmeric root or turmeric powder. Both have advantages and disadvantages. Let’s discuss.
RAW TURMERIC: the biggest advantage is that you can see what you are getting! Pick up a rhizome (the root thing) and take a good look at it. It should be firm, free of mold or mildew, and NOT slippery (a sign of rot, think of how lettuce gets when it’s been in the fridge too long.) It shouldn’t have any bad odor, just a faint curry-type odor. It should look something like this:
Another advantage is it’s likely the most potent. Most powders have been processed using high heat, which destroys many of the benefits of turmeric. Be sure the package clearly states where your turmeric was grown. It’s hard to find, but if possible, try to get U.S.D.A. certified organic. The next best is to look for locally grown turmeric. The worst is the turmeric grown in India or Jamaica. It’s usually been in transit a long time, and likely grown and stored in less-than-ideal conditions (think pesticides, lead, bugs… yeah).
The disadvantages of the root are that it’s pretty hard to figure out how to ingest (see next blog post for ideas!) and it will turn your fingers yellow. For days. I suggest wearing gloves while preparing.
Your next option is a powder or pill form. The advantage of this is ease-of-use. You can easily dump it in a smoothie, make tea with it, throw it in a recipe, or my personal favorite, mix it with a little V-8 and Tabasco®. The pill is easiest of all. There’s some pretty good brands out there, but you may have to hunt for them. What’s really important is to look at the amount of bio-available curcumin. The better brands will tell you on the bottle what the percentage is.
There are two downsides of the powder. The first is that you really don’t know for SURE how potent/bio-available it is. You have to take the word of the company selling it. Therefore, I suggest going with a reputable company, again, look for the “U.S.D.A. Certified Organic” label. If you get the powder, it should be a beautiful, deep, golden yellow color. Like this:
The other downside of the powder is cost. I did a little research, and found the price to range from $20 for a 30 day supply to upwards of $65. So the bottom line is, do your homework on the powder before you purchase it. And realize that not all turmeric is created equal!