Turmeric is a root-like rhizome related to ginger, similar in shape but with a rich deep orange-yellow hue. It is used both fresh and dried as a spice or coloring agent, although peak flavor occurs only with the fresh root. It has a slightly peppery flavor and mustardy smell, and is common in Indian and Asian cuisines. Fresh, it is prized for its anti-inflammatory and digestive properties. It is used to make tea, and is often grated and sautéed with onions and garlic as a base for many dishes, including rice, curries, and dressings.
NOTE: Be careful, as turmeric will stain fingers, clothes, and plastic containers.