Turmeric, safran d’Inde (French)
(Curcuma longa – Family Zingiberaceae)
Turmeric is a a member of the ginger family; and, although related, turmeric does not have the same pungent flavour. Having a mild taste, turmeric is used as much for its golden colour as for any flavouring it may give. Indigenous to an area encompassing south China, Vietnam, and parts of India, turmeric has been used for centuries in curries and in certain processed mustards. Today, turmeric is also grown in the West Indies, and most often substituted for the expensive saffron – for colour at least, because the flavour is nowhere near the same. This is the reason for its French name, which means “Indian saffron”. The yellow pigment is caused by curcumin and other curcuminoid pigments, and has been used as the principal ingredient in curry powders.