Bright Orange turmeric root and powder on a green background.
Photo: Andrew Zuckerman

Why Turmeric Is Everywhere Right Now

By Aileen Kwun
January 18, 2020
2 minute read

Turmeric, a flowering plant that’s part of the ginger family (and similarly harvested for its roots), is having its moment in the sun. Wellness hounds rave over turmeric-spiked drinks like switchel, a tonic made from apple cider vinegar, honey, and lime; and golden milk, blended with warm coconut milk. By now, every Insta-foodie and their mother has had their try of NYT Cooking’s spiced chickpea stew—so popular it’s simply referred to as #TheStew—by cookbook author and columnist Alison Roman, whose flavorful and simple recipes often go viral and are known to spike the sales of certain ingredients.

Sold fresh, or more commonly as a jar of dried and ground powder, the rhizomatic root may be trending with western audiences, but has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Many in the food business, Roman included, are fans of Diaspora Co., a women-run startup that sources a high quality, organically farmed, heirloom, single-origin turmeric from India. A little earthy and slightly bitter, a pinch of turmeric isn’t so pleasant on its own, though it’s a welcome ingredient to quell the winter blues. The punchy, fluorescent yellow-orange hue that permeates dishes (and—full warning—your clothing, too) not only makes us feel like we’re warding off scurvy, it’s a reminder of sunny days ahead—and besides, makes for a nice photo.