Barcelona Photoblog: Turmeric: A Spice Rooted in Catalan Medieval History

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Turmeric: A Spice Rooted in Catalan Medieval History

Turmeric: A Spice Rooted in Catalan Medieval History
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Resuming our Medieval Fair in Súria, we reach for the spices stall, where I couldn't refrain from firing a bunch of shots on this big bowl of Turmeric, a spice obtained from the dried and powdered rhizome of Curcuma longa, an Indian plant. It is an ingredient in curries and in the Middle Ages its color made it a cheaper substitute for saffron. It originated 4000 years ago and is linked to the Vedic culture in India where it was used as a culinary spice and had religious significance. The name derives from the Latin terra merita “meritorious earth” due to the resemblance to the color of some minerals. It can be used as a dye for cloth or be added to chicken broth or dairy products such as margarine. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric is considered to have medicinal properties as an antibiotic and anti-inflammatory. Although I am not particularly fond of yellow I have to admit that Curcuma makes a wonderful subject for a colorful picture.

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