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home > food & wine dictionary > turmeric

Food and Wine Dictionary


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 turmeric    [TER-muh-rihk]

Used in cooking since 600 b.c., turmeric is the root of a tropical plant related to GINGER. Though native to the Orient, thisspice is now also cultivated in India and the Caribbean. It has a bitter, pungentflavor and an intense yellow-orange color. In Biblical times, turmeric was oftenused to make perfume, a comment on its rather exotic fragrance. Today it's usedmainly to add both flavor and color to food. Turmeric is very popular in EastIndian cooking and is almost always used in CURRY preparations. It's also a primaryingredient in MUSTARD and iswhat gives American-style prepared mustard its bright yellow color. Powderedturmeric is widely available in supermarkets. As with all spices, it should bestored in a cool, dark place for no more than 6 months. See also SPICES; HERB AND SPICE CHART.

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Material adapted from the The New Food Lover's Companion

© Copyright Barron's Educational Services, Inc. 1995 based on
THE FOOD LOVER'S COMPANION, 2nd edition, by Sharon Tyler Herbst.


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