Turmeric is often used in Thai cooking in a fresh form. In this fashion of using turmeric, dishes get all the flavor and color, with a pleasantly mild taste. The root is smaller than ginger, and often quite fleshy and tapered on both ends, with the sides creating stubby finger-like nodules about from one to four inches in length.

Fresh turmeric grows both smooth and gnarly, with the extensions being either straight or curved. One can usually find this root in any Southeast Asian markets, or you can also purchase it as turmeric powder from most any grocery store. Look for pure powdered versions, or purchase the dried root online and grind it in a mortar and pestle. If the root is not pure, it will have an acidic putrid taste.

The unmistakable color and intense flavor is adored in the southern region of Thailand, where it is often put into snacks, deserts, soups, curries, and stir-fries. Thai cooking not only using turmeric as a spice, but also employs the fresh roots for raw-dishes, or blanched and dipped into sauces.

The intensely orange color of turmeric is indicative of its extremely high antioxidant properties, and it is one of traditionally medicine's most important healing herb. Herbalists from around the world are quite familiar with its antiseptic, stimulant and tonic properties. It is often used as a treatment for skin diseases, wound healing, and minimizing scarring.

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