Easy ways to check turmeric purity
Turmeric is one of the most popular spices used in every household. In addition to being a basic ingredient to every dish, this root herb comes with endless health benefits. While the rhizomes are plump and firm, powdered turmeric is dark yellow with an earthy aroma and sharp flavour.
But one must be sure about the quality of turmeric that is bought, otherwise you might end up using inferior or adulterated turmeric which will have an adverse effect on your health. For the fear of adulteration, few people prefer using the turmeric root, but majority of people use the powdered form for the ease of use. And this powdered form is quite easy to adulterate. Due to its widespread use, turmeric is susceptible for adulteration. In some cases, the key element of turmeric, curcuminoids can be mixed with starch or chalk powder and sold for lesser cost. These adulterants can present health risks.
Beware of adulterants
According to a bulletin on American Botanical Council, Metanil yellow is a synthetic food colour and additive which has been used as a turmeric adulterant as it resembles the colour of curcumin. Turmeric can also be diluted with yellow soapstone powder.
The Bureau of Indian Standards suggests a minimum of 3% curcumin for powdered turmeric. Despite regulations in place, the quality of turmeric varies due to unhealthy practices adopted by unscrupulous traders.
Turmeric purity test
While the detection of adulteration might not be an easy task, there are certain effective methods to determine the purity of turmeric.
Check for aroma
While genuine turmeric has a mild earthy aroma, the impure one has no such aroma.
The water test
Yet another way to test is to add some turmeric to a glass of lukewarm water for about 10 minutes. If the water is clear and turmeric settles at the bottom, it means the turmeric is pure. If some amount of turmeric remains on the top, it is not a pure product. Also, natural turmeric leaves light yellow colour while settling down, whereas adulterated turmeric will leave a dark yellow colour.
The Hydrochloric acid (HCL) test
Take one teaspoon of turmeric in a glass flask, add few drops of hydrochloric acid to it. If you see the colour changing to pink and disappear on adding few drops of water, it means your turmeric does not have any artificial colours. But if the colour does not change, then it might have the presence of metanil yellow.
Turmeric is a natural healer and is in its pure form when it is obtained directly from nature without any additives. Otherwise it will do more harm than good. Hence, one must exercise caution while buying and using turmeric in meal or medicine. Organic turmeric with the right amount of curcumin is considered to be safe as it does not lose its essential oils, providing flavour and healing benefits.