The best kept secret of Meghalaya - Lakadong Turmeric
Meghalaya, the beautiful and lush state in northeastern India, is home to many hidden treasures that are yet to be discovered by the world. One such treasure is the exquisite and aromatic spice called Lakadong turmeric. This magical spice is slowly becoming the best-kept secret of the region, and its popularity is growing by the day. But, why is this particular turmeric so special? What makes it so unique that it has garnered attention globally?
Lakadong turmeric, grown exclusively in the hills of Meghalaya, is known for its vibrant yellow color, rich flavor profile, and high curcumin content. Curcumin, the key ingredient in turmeric, is the reason for its numerous health benefits, including its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Unlike other turmeric varieties, Lakadong turmeric boasts of a curcumin content of up to 7-12%, which is significantly higher than the average turmeric varieties grown across Indian subcontinent, which ranges from 2-5%.
How is Lakadong Turmeric Cultivated?
The cultivation of Lakadong turmeric is an art that has been passed down through generations of farmers in Meghalaya. The process is traditional, labor-intensive, and requires a lot of care and attention, starting from the preparation of the soil to the harvesting of the rhizomes. The fertile soil and cool temperature of the region provide ideal growing conditions, resulting in the development of its unique flavor profile. What sets Lakadong turmeric apart from other varieties is the traditional and organic farming practices used in its cultivation. The farmers do not use any chemicals, pesticides, or fertilizers, which not only ensures the health benefits of the spice but also protects the environment.
The first step in the cultivation of Lakadong turmeric is the preparation of the soil. The farmers ensure that the soil is rich in organic matter and has the right pH level, which is crucial for the growth of the turmeric plants. Next, the turmeric rhizomes are planted, and the plants are nurtured and tended to regularly. The farmers do not use any chemicals, pesticides, or fertilizers, which not only ensures the health benefits of the magical spice but also protects the environment.
As the plants grow, they are regularly weeded and pruned to ensure their healthy growth. When the plants reach maturity, the turmeric rhizomes are harvested, and the process of drying and grinding the turmeric begins. The turmeric is sun-dried, which not only helps to preserve its quality and flavor but also adds to the character of the spice. After the drying process is complete, the rhizomes are ground into a fine powder, ready to be used in cooking.
What is so special about Turmeric in Indian household?
Turmeric has a special place in Indian traditions and culture. It is a staple ingredient in Indian cuisine, traditional medicine, and religious and spiritual practices. It is also used widely in the China and Middle East.
Medicinal Properties: Turmeric has long been recognized for its many medicinal properties in India. It is used in traditional Indian medicine to treat a wide range of ailments, from digestive issues to skin conditions to respiratory problems. Turmeric is particularly valued for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It is often mixed with other herbs and spices to create powerful medicinal formulations.
Religious and Spiritual Significance: Turmeric is considered to be a sacred spice in many parts of India and is used in religious rituals and ceremonies. In Hinduism, it is considered to be one of the most auspicious substances and is often used in the preparation of religious offerings. Turmeric is also used in traditional Indian weddings, where it is applied to the skin and clothing of the bride and groom as a symbol of protection and purity.
Cultural Significance: Turmeric has a special place in Indian cuisine and is a key ingredient in many traditional Indian recipes. Its distinctive color and flavor make it a favorite among Indian cooks. It is also used as a natural dye in many parts of India, and its bright yellow color makes it a popular choice for dyeing clothing and textiles.
Ayurvedic Medicine: Turmeric has an important place in Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of medicine. Ayurveda recognizes the many health benefits of turmeric and uses it extensively in the preparation of medicines. Turmeric is used to treat a variety of ailments, including digestive issues, skin conditions, and respiratory problems. It is often mixed with other herbs and spices to create powerful medicinal formulations.
Beauty: Turmeric is also used in many beauty products in India. Its natural skin-brightening properties make it a popular ingredient in face masks, cleansers, and other skincare products. It is also used in hair treatments to promote healthy hair growth.
Turmeric is a versatile and special spice that plays an important role in many aspects of Indian culture. Its medicinal properties, religious and spiritual significance, cultural significance, and place in Ayurvedic medicine make it a treasured part of Indian cultural heritage. Its importance in beauty products and cuisine make it an essential part of everyday life in India.