This distinctly yellow spice has been around for over 2,000 years. Turmeric is considered a major spice in India, China and the Middle East. As with most members of the ginger family Turmeric has a warm feel and flavor. It is a key ingredient in Indian, Persian and Thai curries and can be easily substituted for annatto seed, a lesser known Peruvian spice – palillo, and saffron. Saffron is often substituted with Turmeric since Turmeric it is much less expensive.
The strong yellow color is commonly used for mustards and many other commercial food products such as: cheeses, beverages, ice cream, cake mixes, orange juice, gelatin and the like. Although its color holds up well in foods, it unfortunately does not when dying cloth and so is usually limited to eatables.
Research of certain compounds contained in Turmeric has shown it to have some anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and possibly anti-inflammatory properties.