food as medicine & turmeric pickles

You are born of men and women who have been utilizing plant medicines for many generations. Your blood and your body remembers; your body speaks the same language as these medicines. —Carrielynn Victor

easy turmeric pickles | conifères & feuillusMany moons ago, in what now seems like another lifetime, I worked for a large aerospace firm as an engineer. My work involved things like predicting the flow of air over aircraft and the growth of ice on their surface and the impact of such things on their flight. In the simplest cases, this could be done within reasonable accuracy but in more complicated scenarios, mathematical equations pages long or the fastest supercomputers of the world fell short of unraveling the complexities of the two most basic necessities of life— air and water. We did studies in wind tunnels and icing tunnels but these were plagued with limitations beyond our control and abilities.  Despite these complexities though, modern technology has prevailed and air travel is a reasonably safe mode of transportation. But still, it lacks the built-in instinct of a bird in flight, no?

I believe the same can be said of our modern approach to food. Every so often, I come across this study or that study claiming or renouncing the benefits of a certain food. Sadly though, most of these studies have been conducted within a limited framework that fail to examine the whole picture, or even worse, in some instances, have been set up to be biased in the first place.* We have so much information, so much scientific data, all at our fingertips, and yet all of it seems to fail us and globally, we are the unhealthiest we have ever been.  In this latest fragment of a moment of our existence, we have become so far removed from who we are and what we need. But just prior to this present state of unhealthiness lie millennia of not just survival, but flourish. How did our ancestors do it?

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.  —Hippocrates

Obviously, they understood things we seem to have lost, from traditional Chinese medicine to the 3000 year old Ayurveda techniques; from the healing practices of the Indigenous medicine people to the wisdom of the great Hippocrates. If engineering feats of our forefathers still baffle us today, then surely we must acknowledge that we are lacking some of their understanding, some of their built-in instinct.

The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine, or the slowest form of poison.  —Ann Wigmore

Don’t get me wrong, I am very grateful for the advances we have made in modern medicine and maybe there will come a time when I will need to put my trust in a vial of pills and the modern healthcare system, but until then, my trust lies in our forefathers, the men and women who were bound to nature by blood, who cultivated and harvested with the cycles of life and seasons of the earth. No matter how much new scientific data we can amass, our blood and bodies know what our minds may have forgotten but, rest assured, the reach of memory lies within our DNA, within our built-in instinct.

Food has the power to heal us. It is the most potent tool we have to help prevent and treat many of our chronic diseases. —Dr. Mark Hyman

*Marion Nestle’s blog, Food Politics and books are a wonderful source of information that every consumer must read!

easy turmeric pickles | conifères & feuilluseasy turmeric pickles | conifères & feuilluseasy turmeric pickles | conifères & feuillus

Turmeric pickles are a specialty of Gujarat, my birth province in India. This version here is easy and quick to make and a perfect way to use up a surplus before it goes bad, as well as, to add a bit of healing to our health…. we could all use a bit of this these days.

Turmeric Pickles (Kachchi Haldi Ka Achar)

  • 110 g (roughly 1 cup) peeled and sliced fresh turmeric*
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  1. Place all ingredients into a sterilized jar.  Shake well to mix.
  2. Store in fridge, pickles are ready to eat in two days (I usually loose patience and start to eat them the next day) and will keep well for up to two weeks. Be sure to shake the jar at least once a day.
  3. For serving, add 2-3 slices to a salad, use as a condiment in a sandwich or burger or use as traditionally used, a pickle to accompany an Indian meal. When the pickles have finished, you can use up the remaining juice by diluting it with water and drinking it… it’s not the most delicious tasting drink in the world, but good for you so certainly not to be wasted!

* Fresh turmeric will stain your hands so you may want to wear gloves. In any case, the stains will fade within a few days. It will also stain your cutting board, wooden utensils, tea towels, etc. so you may want to avoid using your favourite items for this purpose.

34 thoughts on “food as medicine & turmeric pickles

  1. hi annika! i love that hippocrates quote – i live by it! and your fotography is so beautiful. we have much in common in how we view food! i love your blog. thanks for all the love… i look forward to following along and seeing what other beautiful things you share with us!

  2. hi annika! i love that hippocrates quote – i live by it! and your fotography is so beautiful. we have much in common in how we view food! i love your blog. thanks for all the love… i look forward to following along and seeing what other beautiful things you share with us!

  3. Looks like we both think quite similarly when it comes to little pills that supposedly work magic. These pickles sound interesting.

  4. This is a very interesting recipe, would love to try it! I use turmeric powder everyday in my cereal, tea, milk …I have to look for the root.
    I’m impressed by the work you did Annika! And I totally agree about the modern way of “healing”/eating.

  5. Annika, what a fabulous post. Love the quotes you’ve featured and Cant believe my husband whose family are from Gujarat hasn’t mentioned these pickles. I intend to pick up fresh turmeric at the farmers market tomorrow and makes these! Also I read somewhere that black peppercorns eaten with turmeric make it even more potent – did you know this?

    1. I’m totally not surprised that you have not heard of this… it really is one that seems to get overlooked. I’m sure my own family in India rarely make it as they take having access to fresh turmeric for granted. For me here in Montreal, finding fresh turmeric (in fine condition) is not always easy so when I do find it, I have to buy it and this is the quickest and easiest way to use it up before it spoils. I have also heard that black pepper help us extract more of the benefits of turmeric but interestingly, I have never heard of this from my parents… in any case, adding some to this recipe couldn’t hurt. Thank you for stopping by!

  6. I love fresh turmeric. In winters markets are overflow with these. It has tremendous medicinal values. Instead of powdered packeted turmeric, I use these fresh turmeric. I prepare Haldi ki sabzi paired with curd and green pea and Haldi and Lahasun ki Chatni. These are Rajasthani dish. But this pickled Haldi is new to me and I am going to try it soon. Thanks for the nice share.

  7. I don’t find fresh turmeric around here – I know there’s places that sell it, but also know how stupidly expensive it will be – so I always, always have a jar of the powdered stuff. Ever since a child, it has been one of my fave ingredients, and I do tend to add a pinch of it to most of the food I cook. THe earthy flavour is soooo good! Last week I had a very nasty cold, and nasty colds with me often turn into tonsilitis or faringitis that require antibiotics or I simply won’t heal and end up with otitis and in hospital. Before the cold got worse, I made golden milk, and for 3 days I drank it every afternoon. On the fourth day, my cold was nearly gone. THat’s how powerful the stuff is.

    1. That’s too bad… I guess the fresh version is expensive only because there isn’t much demand for it… here is a suggestion for you: try growing it at home in a pot. You will only need to buy the fresh root once and plant it… if all works out well, you will have lots to harvest!

  8. Yes, it’s a colour little thing this root! I saw TONS of it in India (I was there to see spice facilities so you can imagine) 🙂 Didnt try the pickled ones though!

    1. I saw your photos and they are stunning! I hope you will have some more posts from your travels. These pickled ones are easy to make at home, do give it a try!

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