Turmeric is a spice that has long been valued for its medicinal and culinary uses, as well as its use as a bright yellow dye. Though the turmeric root resembles ginger, it has a very different flavour. The root has rough, brown skin and bright-orange, firm flesh. Turmeric has an aromatic, warm flavour and slightly bitter undertone that increases during cooking. Care should be taken not to add too much of the spice at the beginning of a recipe.
Choose fresh looking turmeric that is firm and free from wrinkles or soft patches. Store turmeric in an airtight container, away from the light, for up to six months.
Preparation Tip: Turmeric has a very firm texture and will not soften while cooking so it must always be ground before use. Use a knife or a vegetable peeler to remove a small section of the skin and use a grater to grind small amounts off of the root as needed. Another option is to skin and grind the entire root at one time in a spice grinder and store for future use. Turmeric will stain hands and surfaces, so gloves should be worn and spills cleaned up quickly.