I’ve been avoiding caffeine so even though the temperature never broke 40 yesterday, coffee or hot chocolate didn’t seem like a good idea. And sometimes herbal tea, as much as I enjoy it, doesn’t quite hit the creamy spot. So when I saw a recipe for Creamy Turmeric Tea on one of my favorite real food blogs, Mark’s Daily Apple, I ran into the kitchen to try it. But, as is my wont, I had to tinker with it a little.
I love the idea of enjoying the healthful benefits of spices in a beverage, and turmeric is a nutritional powerhouse. Not only that, for someone who adores color like I do, the sight of this sunny yellow drink in my red Fiestaware tea cup warmed me even before I took the first sip.
Most of us know turmeric as that ingredient in curry powder that gives Indian food its yellow color but it may be less appreciated that turmeric has its own earthy, slightly bitter flavor with notes of ginger and pepper. It comes from the root of the Cucurma longa plant, which looks something like a small ginger root with bright orange flesh. Turmeric has been used for centuries in both Chinese and Indian medicine. According to the World’s Healthiest Foods website, here are some of the properties of turmeric:
- High in iron and manganese
- Good source of B6, potassium and dietary fiber
- Prevents oxidation of cholesterol
- Improves liver function
Turmeric has also been shown to be helpful in these conditions:
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Rhuematoid Arthritis
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Heart disease
- Alzheimer’s Disease
I recommend you purchase ground spices from a store that does a brisk business to assure freshness and potency. I buy bulk herbs and spices in bulk in small amounts so I can rotate them often. They’re much less expensive that way, too.
With the introductions out of the way, let’s head back to the kitchen. A little further research unearthed the fact that the medicinal properties of turmeric are greatly enhanced by the addition of black pepper, so I replaced the dash of cayenne in the original recipe with some freshly ground black pepper. I also used whole, raw milk as my base, but if you don’t do dairy, almond milk (unsweetened) or coconut milk will be fabulous, as well. I added a dash each of cinnamon and ground cardamom — options in the original. I’ve always heard that cooking spices brings out both the flavor and medicinal properties, so I gently heated all the spices in a small pan of milk on the stove (Mark just heated the milk and poured it into a mug containing the spices.) Put the honey in once the pot is off the heat to preserve its good enzymes. You are using raw, local honey, aren’t you? Here’s one reason you should.
The earthy flavor of turmeric may take a little getting used to, but I think this could turn into a go-to winter warmer with benefits to your body to boot.
Creamy Turmeric Tea
- 1 cup whole, preferably raw, dairy milk (or unsweetened almond or coconut milk)
- 1/2 teaspoon very finely minced fresh ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly and finely ground black pepper
- Dash ground cinnamon (optional)
- Dash ground cardamom (optional)
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon raw honey
Put milk, ginger, turmeric, pepper, cinnamon and cardamom in a small saucepan and heat gently on the stove until hot, but not boiling. If desired, strain through a fine mesh sieve to remove ginger. (I didn’t mind the bits.) Stir in honey. Drink warm.