Although we have been graced with possibly the nicest November on record, there is still a bite in the air that comes with this time of year, leaving me craving a warm mug in my hands.
I think I have mentioned my constant effort to incorporate turmeric into my daily life before. It is the ultimate anti-inflammatory, which is endlessly beneficial to our overworked bodies. Pair that with its load of antioxidants (apparent through its rich orange coloring), and you have a powerful medicine that can help prevent and treat whatever ails you.
With that said, there are a few kitchen tricks that can help you assimilate and incorporate all of the health benefits from this amazing little root more effectively. The first is to not overheat it- excessive heat or boiling will start to deteriorate it's nutritional prowess. The second is to enjoy it with some sort of fat. The active component in turmeric, curcumin, is fat soluble, meaning that it needs to be consumed with a source of fat to be fully absorbed. And finally, add a pinch of black pepper, which also boosts it's bio-availability substantially.
So what does that mean for this recipe? Don't let the tea boil too much- you want to get it to a simmer, and then let it steep. If you are worried about this step, you can heat your milk to a simmer and then add your turmeric, ginger and black pepper to steep. Don't skip the few pinches of black pepper, and add a tsp. of coconut oil if you are using a skim milk or nut-based milk.
It is not hard to find fresh ginger or turmeric in the produce section of your local health food store. When you find it, buy a good amount, give it a good wash and store it in a bag in your freezer. It will last forever this way, and actually grates easier with a microplane (just take it out to thaw for a few minutes before grating, and it is truly a breeze). Then throw the rest back in the freezer for your next use.
Golden Turmeric Milk
2 cups whole cow's milk or hazelnut milk (or milk of choice)
1-inch fresh turmeric, grated
1-inch fresh ginger, grated
a few grinds of black pepper
1 tsp. extra-virgin unrefined coconut oil, if not using whole milk
1 tbs. raw honey or maple syrup, to taste, optional
Place all ingredients in a small pot and heat until simmering, over low-medium heat, watching carefully to avoid a boil-over. Cover and turn off heat, letting it steep for 10 minutes. Stir in sweetener, if using. Strain into container of choice. Enjoy hot or cold.