Raw turmeric, in its powdered or rhizome state — the stem looking entity that closely resembles the root of ginger, is perfectly safe to consume at moderate quantities. The ideal dosage is typically like this; one whole rhizome for every 24 hours, or no more than 3 teaspoon of powdered turmeric per day.
Consuming turmeric in both its raw and cooked state is expected to provide a handful of benefits for the body, although most of these health benefits have not been convincingly established through scientific research.
What does raw turmeric taste like?
Raw turmeric root tastes like the fresher version of the cooked variant. The powdered turmeric, much like the root, tastes much more alive as opposed to when it’s sprinkled as an ingredient in soups or sauces and then cooked.
This means that raw turmeric offers that extra pungency, pepperiness and overall sharpness that cooked turmeric lacks, in whatever form that it may come.
Raw turmeric root also has an overwhelming earthy and bitter flavor which most people will likely detest, thus, anyone trying to consume raw turmeric root, is better off suppressing the dominant taste with ingredients such ad sweeteners and tasty herbs or better still, with food preparation like salads or tea.
Raw vs cooked turmeric: which offers more in terms of health benefits?
Raw turmeric root might just have the slightest edge when it comes to health benefits according to a guide published by Turmericforhealth.com (which is an authoritative blog that shares quality information about the turmeric plant).
Tumericforhealth.com explains that “curcumin” which is the key ingredient present in turmeric that accounts for more than half of the speculated health benefits, is much more readily available to the body when the turmeric in question is consumed raw.
This, they state, is due of the natural proportions of other curcuminiods and turmeric oils that exist in the root which aids in the easy absorption of the latter compound.
In powdered or processed versions however (i.e cooked turmeric), the balance is distorted through loss of some compounds and loss in percentage of some compounds, making the “curcumin” much more difficult to absorb in the body without the influence of external agents like black pepper and oil.
So it seems like raw turmeric, having most of its curcumin readily available to the body by virtue of its natural state, will quickly provide the health benefits of turmeric than processed turmeric. (That’s if these benefits are indisputably there in the first place).
Is eating turmeric raw worth it?
A huge chunk of the health benefits of turmeric are mostly backed by pencil-thin research and some are even anecdotal, passed on from generation to generation. So turmeric may or may not be the super indian plant we’re thinking.
In the case that turmeric is really the powerful healer ingredient every corner of the internet advertises, then consuming turmeric raw, despite the unappetizing flavors, is totally worth it.
You’ll get a good percentage of the curcumin into your bloodstream which means you’re reaping the health benefits in the most efficient way possible.
Now take a scenario where eating turmeric does not provide some of the health benefits it’s speculated to provide, which by the way is a decent possibility, in that case, consuming turmeric raw will be a total waste of time and a complete torture to the buds. Therefore it’s never really worth the effort!
But right now, as things stand, every single person is in the grey area. There are studies give hope and those that shatter them. And for me, i wouldn’t torture myself over something I’m not fully sure the benefits it provides!
So, i’m team “cooked turmeric”!
How to eat turmeric raw
If you’ve made up your mind to consume turmeric raw, because somehow, your gut feeling has gotten over you, then below are the ways to go about it.
1) Consume the rhizome raw
It’s warm, bitter, and slightly peppery, especially with the back on. Definitely not the best tasting ingredient around the kitchen, but it has the potential to deliver a host of health benefits for you.
If you’re courageous enough, try eating turmeric roots raw and fresh, properly washed and no more than one root per day.
2) A pinch over scramble eggs, tofu, or fritta.
Add a pinch of turmeric powder over scrambled eggs, tofu scramble, braised or sautéed greens like cabbage, kale etc. for color and subtle flavor.
Here are a list of other things you can sprinkle turmeric powder over.
- Roasted vegetables i.e. potatoes, cauliflower etc.
- White rice and pasta.
- Freshly brought down soups and sauces.
- Salads such as green leaf, potato, vegetable slaw, fruit salad, tabbouleh.
- Other cooked grains.
3) Make turmeric juice
I know, doesn’t sound appetizing especially after all the serious disclaimers regarding the harsh flavor profile of raw turmeric.
But it’s worth the try if you’re really all about turmeric. Make turmeric juice with fresh, blemish free turmeric roots (recommended) and use it as the only ingredient if you wish. That’s raw, raw turmeric!
If you need to spice things up, add fresh ginger, lemon, and a sweetener like honey or maple syrup which will not only boost the nutritional content but also tame the flavor a bit more.
Here’s the most basic way in known to make turmeric juice
- Peel or leave with skin on.
- Slice into small pieces.
- Blend for 1 minute or until smooth.
- Boil the mixture and let simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Then stir. (Alternative)
- Strain using mesh sieve or nut milk to separate mash from juice.
- Serve cold.
Disclaimer: Turmeric can stain hands so make sure you wear gloves before handling turmeric roots. Also, if you’re making the juice with only raw turmeric, you may feel the need to reduce the strong spicy flavor of the turmeric. Feel free to use water for that purpose!
4) Make turmeric paste
Turmeric paste is basically turmeric roots ground with oils and other herbs to be consumed as it is or stirred into milk, into hot water to make tea, into juices or smoothies, used as spread, as a sauce or as a condiment for fruits.
Here’s how to make turmeric paste:
- Get fresh turmeric roots.
- Clean and peel them. The peeling part is optional but know that peels can add to the final consistency and texture of the paste.
- Chop the roots finely and grind into a semi coarse paste.
- Add small water to dilute the concentration and then blend to make the final paste.
- At the stage the paste is ready to use, but you can choose to cook it for even consistency.
- To do that, transfer the contents of the blender into a pot and place on low heat. (optional)
- Cook for 2 minutes and bring down from the heat. Add whatever herbs and ingredients you like such as ginger and cinnamon at this stage. (optional)
- Let cool and voila, turmeric paste!
Store in the refrigerator for no more than 2 weeks.
5) Make turmeric tea
You can make turmeric tea directly from the paste you made by spooning a teaspoon to an already boiled water and stirring well to blend in the mixture.
Alternatively, you can boil fresh turmeric root in water to get the flavors out, or spoon teaspoon of powdered turmeric in water and let simmer for 10 minutes. Then strain and serve as it is or add lemon for taste.
You can choose to make creamy turmeric tea with milk plus a host other ingredients such as ginger root, cayenne pepper and low calorie sweeteners. Mix the solids first and then add in the milk, warm, (making sure you warmed it on the stove). Strain before drinking.
6) Add turmeric to smoothie
Stir in turmeric as in ingredient in your smoothie. Be careful of the amount you add as the turmeric can end up dominating the whole flavor profile.
Turmeric can be eaten raw with some authorities even claiming that raw turmeric is better absorbed into the body than processed turmeric.
When consuming raw turmeric, the harsh flavor profile can be suppressed by mixing it with other foods as opposed to eating the root by itself.
Turmeric root can be eaten as it is, sprinkled over tea, over salads or used as an ingredient in smoothies.