Friday, 18 December 2015

Halad/ Tumeric

Turmeric or Halad (हळद) is a popular Maharashtrian Spice, that grows as a root. Fresh roots called Oli (wet) Halad (ओली हळद) are used to make Haldicha Loncha/ Turmeric Pickle. There are 2 types of fresh halad, Oli Halad, which is orange-yellow coloured and the other is Ambe Halad. Ambe means mango-like but contrary to the name, this type is pale-yellow coloured!
Fresh Turmeric Root

Processed Whole Root
The most commonly used form is turmeric powder, which is produced by boiling and then drying wet turmeric. Once dry, the turmeric is then powdered. Botanically, turmeric is closely related to ginger, and is extremely potent. I remember, the first time that I made Fresh Turmeric Pickle, I was left with yellow hands for quite some time. Try to wear gloves when you handle wet turmeric! Turmeric leaves are packed with flavour as well. We use them to make Panagi. The leaf gives it flavour, without the colour.
The spice has religious importance and is therefore, the whole root an essential part of a number of poojas. It signifies fertility, purity, prosperity, sacrifice and courage. It is a natural antiseptic, which is why it was used to heal wounds in the olden days. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, while improving brain function and reducing the risk of heart disease. 
Turmeric Powder
Turmeric aids the healing process in wounds when mixed with aloe vera gel. Apparently, it also helps delay ageing and fight depression! It is believed that the antioxidant, curcumin helps prevent formation of tumours. A simple remedy for cold is adding turmeric powder to hot milk. It is also used for de worming, when consumed either with pure ghee or the juice of the fresh turmeric.
Turmeric is widely used in the cosmetic industry as well. It is effective in treatment of acne and oily skin.It regulates the production of sebum, which is the oily substance produced by sebaceous glands.It is a home remedy for wrinkles when mixed with buttermilk.
The root is so useful, that I think it should be hailed as the modern version of Getafix's potion!

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