Turmeric is a sweet salve for an inflamed, auto-immune, gut-compromised soul, or so say the studies. But a bunch of other studies show it has poor bioavailability and requires pretty good gut health from the get-go to be able to convert the active ingredient (the yellow pigment, curcurmin) into a form that kicks into gear all the good guff. Sad sigh.
ALL OF THAT SAID, a study published in the International Journal of Food Science and Technology found the bioavailability increased when it was fermented.
It works like this: Curcumin is transformed through digestion into different forms known as metabolites. And it’s these metabolites that are the anti-inflammatory and cancer-preventing agent. And the bit that I find interesting: According to a Japanese study, fermentation prior to eating can replicate this transformation, ie create metabolites.
Music. To my witchy ears.
I decided to play around with turmeric fermentation myself this week. My wonderful friend David grows the stuff and brought in a boot-load (literally) for me to muck about with. For those of you who don’t know a David With A Bootload of Roots, you’ll be glad to know turmeric is in season right now (in the Southern hemisphere) and pretty easy to get hold of. Buy up big. I’ll be posting a few more recipes to come.
For today, a tonic that’s bound to pacify pain and cool the angry inflammation based on my Ginger-ade recipe.
Fermented Turmeric Tonic
- 1 cup thinly sliced turmeric, unpeeled (if you come up a little short, a bit of ginger in the mix is fine, too)
- 3/4 cup rice malt syrup
- 2 lemons or limes, or a combo of both (zest and juice)
- 6 cups water
- 1/2 cup whey (here’s the details for making whey; you can opt to make a turmeric bug instead by converting this ginger recipe)
Bring water, syrup and sliced turmeric to a boil in a medium pot. Simmer for 20 minutes. Cool to body temperature then add the zest and juice (tip: if you have a Vitamix: trim the zest and blitz, trim the pith and discard, along with any pips, then add the whole lemon/lime to the Vitamix and blitz again; pour the liquid over the top to combine). Transfer to a large 2 L mason jar (or between two smaller ones). Add whey.
Stir, screw on the lid and sit on the counter for 2-3 days in hot weather, 4-5 in winter, or until slightly bubbly. Stir or shake a little occasionally. Strain the ginger-ade into bottles. Allow to carbonate for another 2-3 days at room temperature, and then put in the fridge. It will last a week in the fridge before it goes vinegary.
Feel free to put in some fermented turmeric requests…I’m in my kitchen a lot at the moment writing my next book. Plus, I have a boot-load of roots to make use of!