In Sickness and in Health
Illustration by Daniel de Latour
Good Food

In Sickness and in Health

Turmeric Pickle and Cedarwood Oil
Dominika Bok
time 3 minutes

Regularly eating fresh turmeric pickle should protect you from various pathogens. But if the cunning common cold has already spread through your home, chase it away with cedarwood oil.

Turmeric – as gold as it looks

There must be some turmeric enthusiasts among our readers – the powdered variety has been available for years, but fresh turmeric root has only recently appeared in the shops. How do people in Europe consume it? Perhaps they add it to dishes or infusions, just like ginger. Here, I would like to share an alternative, simple and tasty method: turmeric root, or rather rhizome pickle.

Curcuma longa likely comes from India (likely, because it is nowhere to be found in the wild). It has been cultivated there since time immemorial. Crops in India, China, Malaysia, Pakistan and Sri Linka currently meet the growing global demand for this plant. Turmeric is an easy crop, because it grows quickly. It is planted shallow, and when it gets to the right size, it is dug up and cleaned. Its components include curcumin and demethoxycurcumin, and it contains around 5% essential oils with an intense aroma (such as turmerone and arturmerone), as well as starch, fat, sugars and micro-elements. The human body absorbs curcumin in combination with piperine, found in black pepper, so it is worth mixing these spices together. Curcumin is a strong antioxidant, stimulates the liver to produce bile and improves its flow, fights bacteria and inflammation, and is recommended for digestive disorders, liver failure and gallstone disease. It is used in the treatment of cancer, as a low toxicity, chemopreventive compound that exhibits carcinogen-killing properties.

Research has shown that curcumin also has antiviral and antifungal properties. It is recommended for use in asthma, diabetes, arthritis, atherosclerosis and neurodegenerative diseases.


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zdjęcie: Marco Verch/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Photo by Marco Verch/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Turmeric pickle

Ingredients (for one jar of pickles):

150g fresh turmeric
4 lemons
Sea salt
Black pepper

Peel the turmeric and cut it into matchstick-size pieces, cover it with a spoonful of salt, add a pinch of pepper, and pour over the lemon juice. Leave the open jar on the windowsill for a day or two, then screw the top on and store in the fridge.

The pickles will be ready to eat in just a few days. Sour and salty, with a slightly burning turmeric flavour, they are a delicious yet intense addition to dishes. The brine will revive boring groats and salads. Pickles can be kept in the fridge for a long time; the lemon and salt will preserve them. Turmeric extracts have been used for centuries to dye linen, silk and leather. The skin of your hands will certainly take on a beautiful yellow shade when slicing turmeric. If yellow isn’t your favourite colour, wear gloves and make two jars at once – the other to be consumed at a later date.

Cedarwood oil

Cedarwood oil is obtained by cold or warm steam distillation of wood. The term ‘cedarwood oil’ can refer to a few different varieties, so make sure you know which one you’re dealing with. Virginian cedarwood is a raw material obtained from juniper – Juniperus virginiana – from North America, also known as red cedar. Juniperus ashei, or Mountain or Mexican cedar, is native to northeastern Mexico and Texas, and is similar to the Virginian variety. Both are produced in the United States. Atlas cedar oil is obtained from Cedrus atlantica and produced in France, Algeria and Morocco. I prefer the latter, although they all work in a similar way. Atlas cedar is antiseptic, fungicidal and bactericidal, it contains unsaturated fatty acids, oleic and linoleic acids. It is not recommended for use during pregnancy. It purifies the air from unwanted microbes. To guarantee an aromatherapeutic journey to the peaks of North Africa, all you need is an aromatherapy burner, a tea light, water, and a few drops of essential oil.

Translated from the Polish by Joanna Figiel

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The Power of Vinegar
Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya/Unsplash
Good Food

The Power of Vinegar

Make Your Own Acetic Acid
Dominika Bok

For several years, I have been turning everything I come across into vinegar. Anywhere I go – woods and meadows, markets and allotment, forest paths and clearings, riverbanks – I forage flowers, plants, weeds, herbs, berries, fruits, roots and rhizomes. Vinegars once played an important role in herbal medicine. They were dethroned once distillation became popular – alcohol, as an excellent solvent for valuable plant ingredients, has dominated herbal remedies. I appreciate tinctures and I do make them myself, but my heart belongs to vinegars.

The best known herbal vinegar in the European herbal community is the four thieves vinegar supposedly invented during the Black Death epidemic. According to legend, it protected a group of looters from catching the disease, while others dropped like flies. Last year, I tried to make this concoction during a trip to southern France. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find all the necessary ingredients (angelica, rosemary, rue, lavender, wormwood, sage, cloves and oregano). This year, I will make another attempt.

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