I was at the New Amsterdam Market recently (Welcome back folks!) and besides indulging in lots of obscure apples and ridiculously expensive Vermont Maple Syrup that I've been finding excuses to put on just about everything, I also found a vendor selling Turmeric Tonic. He used actual fresh turmeric.
I have to admit that I had never seen these little orange knobs that looked like gnarled fingers before. I was so excited because an organic farmer was selling just-picked ginger at the farmers' market, and it reminded me that I should start making some ginger turmeric tonic while the fresh turmeric was available. (Of course you can use dried turmeric, but this is much more fun!)
I'm so fortunate that besides living near New York City's biggest farmers' market, I also live near Kalustyans, where you can find every herb, spice, bean or grain you'd ever want to cook with, and sure enough, they had fresh turmeric. I went home and made this lovely drink using the ginger, turmeric, cayenne pepper, some honey and a little apple juice.
Ginger, turmeric and cayenne all act as anti-inflammatory agents. In Aruyveda practices, ginger is also used to stimulate circulation, help with digestion and fight off infections. It helps with nausea, helps ward off colds and is great for menstrual cramps. Turmeric, which contains circumin, is an antioxidant and good for arthritis and healing wounds. In Chinese medicine it is used as a treatment for depression. Cayenne helps to clear congestion and helps boost immunity.
Drink this ginger turmeric tonic chilled or at room temperature. It will last for about 5 days. If you're like me, and don't have a juicer, just use your blender. You'll have a few pieces of chopped turmeric and ginger in it, and there's nothing wrong with that.
GINGER TURMERIC TONIC
Makes 4 4oz servings
1 inch piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 inch piece turmeric, peeled and roughly chopped
Juice of 3 lemons
Juice of 1 lime
½ teaspoon honey, preferably raw
1 ½ cups water
½ cup organic apple juice
Optional: ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
Blend the ginger and turmeric in the blender.
Add the lemon, lime, honey, cayenne, water, and apple juice and blend to mix.
Add cardamom if using.