Q Is there a cheaper substitute for saffron?
A Turmeric has always been regarded the cheaper alternative to saffron. Although turmeric has a strong, pungent odour and tastes bitter, it adds a unique flavour to Indian cuisine.
Q. What does turmeric look like?
A. The turmeric plant is herbaceous and has large leaves and yellow flowers. Turmeric in the plant is finger like in shape and deep yellow inside. Ground turmeric resembles saffron only in colour. It is mostly sold in powder form in India.
Q. What are the uses of turmeric?
A. Indian cuisine is incomplete without turmeric and it can be added to most savoury dishes. In South East Asian cuisine, turmeric is added to rice, fish and shell fish dishes. In Europe, it is added to kedgeree and mustard pickles, includinf piccalilli.
Q. Where does it grow?
A. It is a tropical plant and grows in a warm, humid climate. Turmeric is native to India and India is the largest producer of turmeric in the world.
Q. What are the value added products of turmeric?
A. Cucumin, dehydrated turmeric powder, oil and oleoresin.
Q. How can we estimate the curcumin content of turmeric?
A. This can be done by adopting the Manjunath et al method. Cured rhizomes are ground to a fine powder and 0.1 g of the powder must be extracted with 40 ml distilled alcohol by refluxing over a water cooled condenser for 2 hours.
The extract must then be filtered into a 100 ml volumetric flask and the volume must be made up again.
The absorbance of the solution can be measured at 425 nm with alcohol as the blank.
The curcumin content is then calculated using the absorbance value of a standard solution (0.00025g/100ml has an absorbance of 0.42).
The formula used is: 0.00025 * absorbance of sample * 100*100
Absorbance of standard * sample weight*5