Why do I make turmeric cubes —and will probably never again put turmeric root through a juicer again? Well, let’s go back to Juicing Vs Blending. The Plot Thickens. In this post I remarked that plant fiber is a much more interesting character than we realized. More than simply roughage or a bulking agent, fiber is a carrier for the free radical-quenching polyphenols found in many fruits, vegetables and other plants.
However, most plant polyphenols are fused to the plant fiber and can not be extracted [1,2]. So, if consumed as a whole plant or blended, the polyphenols travel through the digestive tract, then into the colon, where they are digested by friendly flora, producing short chain fatty acids (acetate, propionate, and butyrate) [3,4]. These short chain fatty acids deliver many health benefits, from anticarcinogenic and anti-inflammatory properties to inhibiting the growth of bad bacteria and increasing mineral absorption. Some also serve as a major fuel for the cells that line the colon [5,6,7]. But, juice those same fruits or vegetables and most of these valuable polyphenol compounds are removed with the fiber. Lose the fiber. Lose the polyphenols.
The more polyphenols present in a plant, the more there is to lose. Consider turmeric. Thousands of research studies have shown that turmeric and curcumin, the most active constituent of the spice, may be beneficial in preventing and/or treating over six hundred health conditions . Further, turmeric has been found comparable to fourteen various drugs and medications —without adverse side effects, even at doses up to 8,000 mg per day [9,10,11,12] (about one rounded teaspoon of dried turmeric). No wonder turmeric is known as ‘Indian Solid Gold’,
In my kitchen, turmeric is for blending, not for juicing. I want those curcuminoid polyphenols in my system not the composting bin or garbage disposal. But, I believe I’m not alone in that I love everything about turmeric —except the mess. Try as I might to be tidy, grating fresh turmeric root with a microplane, I end up with turmeric gold-tinged fingernails, dish rags, microplane….basically anything in sight.
The Solution? Turmeric Cubes!
Blend the turmeric root and freeze the pulp into cubes. Unlike ginger, which is fibrous and works best as ginger juice cubes, turmeric blends nicely into a paste, which mixes easily into foods or drinks. Freeze a batch of turmeric cubes, and you will have curcuminoid-palooza without the daily clean-up. Toss an anti-inflammatory turmeric cube into tea, into dressings, into soups. While fresh may be best, the convenience means it is easy to consume what has been called ‘A Spice for Life’.
You can find fresh turmeric at many health food stores, Indian markets and many Whole Foods Market locations. Look for it where you would find its cousin, ginger.
Place the whole root pieces in a blender, ideally a small jar. Here, I am using the Ninja personal-size jar. Fill with filtered water to cover about 1/4 of the turmeric.
Process the roots until it is fairly smooth and there are no large chunks. If needed, add a little more water until it reaches a thick paste consistency.
Pour the blended turmeric into an ice-cube tray and place into the freezer. Once the turmeric cubes are frozen, remove and store in a glass air-tight container. Placing wax paper between layers of cubes will aid in their removal.
Wash your blender jar and utensils right away! Plastics, like blender jars will stain if they are not cleaned right away. If that happens, fill the jar with water and add a few tablespoons of bleach. Let it sit for an hour, then scrub it out. Or, just accept it as part of the golden goodness.
- Bioavailability: To maximize bioavailability, process the root with coconut oil (rather than water) and add ground black pepper –Three Ways to Get the Most From Turmeric
- Yield: 1/2 pound of root pieces will yield about 12 ounces of blended root
- Approximate Dry Equivalency:
2-inch piece of fresh turmeric root = 1 tablespoon of freshly grated turmeric
1 tablespoon of freshly grated turmeric = 1 teaspoon of dried turmeric
 L Bravo, R Abia, F saura-Calixto. Poyphenols as Dietary Fiber Associated Compounds. Comparative Study on in Vivo and in Vitro Properties. J. Agric. Food Chem., 1994, 42 (7), pp 1481-1487.
 S Arranz, J M Silvan, F Saura-Calixto. Nonextractable polyphenols, usually ignored, are the major part of dietary polyphenols; A study on the Spanish diet. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2010 Nov;54(11):1946-58.
 Wong, Julia M.; de Souza, Russell; Kendall, Cyril W.; Emam, Azadeh; Jenkins, David J. (2006). “Colonic Health: Fermentation and Short Chain Fatty Acids”. Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology 40 (3): 235–243. doi:10.1097/00004836-200603000-00015. PMID 16633129.
 Lupton JR. Microbial degradation products influence colon cancer risk: the butyrate controversy. J Nutr. 2004;134(2):479-482. (PubMed)
 Greer JB, O’Keefe SJ (2011). “Microbial induction of immunity, inflammation, and cancer”. Front Physiol 1: 168. doi:10.3389/fphys.2010.00168. PMC 3059938. PMID 21423403.
 Scheppach W (January 1994). “Effects of short chain fatty acids on gut morphology and function”. Gut 35 (1 Suppl): S35–8. doi:10.1136/gut.35.1_Suppl.S35. PMC 1378144. PMID 8125387.
 Andoh A, Tsujikawa T, Fujiyama Y (2003). “Role of dietary fiber and short-chain fatty acids in the colon”. Curr. Pharm. Des. 9 (4): 347–58. doi:10.2174/1381612033391973. PMID 12570825.
 Curcumin: the Indian solid gold. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2007;595:1-75.
 Natural Products and Molecular Therapy, First International Conference. New York, NY: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Vol. 1056, 2005.
 Phase I clinical trial of curcumin, a chemoprotective agent, in patients with high-risk or pre-malignant lesions. Anti-cancer Res. 2001; July-Aug 21:2895-2900.
 Is Turmeric As Effective As Fourteen Other Drugs? Sacred Plant’s Ingredient, Curcumin, Holds Key To Health Benefits? Medical Daily.