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I know turmeric is supposed to be loaded with good stuff, and I love the color it imparts to food, but gosh, it has an off-putting flavor!
I have a bag of turmeric from Penzey's that let's just assume is good quality, and it's not old, but I hate the flavor. It's bitter to me. Metallic, even.
I made a cauliflower soup yesterday that just cried out for a dash of turmeric to make it a gorgeous color. It was all I could do to add all the cheese in my fridge to get the soup past the turmeric yuck!
Anyone else hate it?

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  1. Absolutely not! It's horrible. It's one of the spices if not the primary spice that makes Indian food so bad.

    2 Replies
    1. Nope, you're not alone. Makes the house smell for a month. That and Fenugreek.

      1 Reply
      1. re: acgold7

        Took me 10-15 years to get used to cilantro, and twice that for fenugreek. I thought all curry was bad r/t the fenugreek smell/taste....

      2. Can't stand it. I only just learned that I LIKE Indian and Thai curries, as long as they don't contain turmeric! I had been avoiding anything called 'curry' for 30+ years, thinking it all had that horrible yellow powder in it. I'll even do brown coarse mustards, but not the bright yellow stuff, because it's got turmeric in it.

        Maybe we're like the people who can't stand cilantro?

            1. re: ipsedixit

              I've used minimal, but it still wrecks dishes!!

            2. Whew! Glad I'm not alone.

              1. Don't hate it, but I can only use a fraction of what the recipe calls for. When I leave it out though, the dish isn't balanced. Same with cilantro. By themselves, they taste bad, but in stuff, they improve the overall flavor.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Isolda

                  Agree that I should know how to balance the flavor.

                  1. re: monavano

                    True, but one person's balance is another person's over the top.

                2. I'm not wild about it either, but now and then a dish comes along that it makes a difference in. I feel the same way about anchovies, but the addition of an anchovy to a pork stew works magic. And even saffron turned out to be an acquired taste for me. Oddly, I have friends who can't stand cinnamon. And it turns out that a percentage of people taste it differently. For them it is an aggressive metallic flavor. I love cinnamon, but not with beef--contrary to the recipes (many Greek) that speak of its affinity for beef. So my attitude is that, with so many good things around, don't feel guilty if something comes along that you genuinely don't like.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Father Kitchen

                    I'd be surprised if you're not already aware of this, FK, but for those who may not be, there are two types of cinnamon; Ceylon (aka "true") cinnamon and Cassia cinnamon, which is the kind most available in the U.S. Those hot cinnamon candies are always Cassia cinnamon. Ceylon cinnamon is MUCH milder with a more subtle flavor, and generally does not come armed with the same basebal bat to hit you over the head with as Cassia. Ceylon cinnamon is also more expensive, which is probably why it's not widely used.

                    As for turmuric, I'm allergic to it! Don't mind the flavor, though I prefer saffron, which turmuric is often used as a cheaper substitute for. I suspect people who don't like the flavor of either turmuric or saffron may be using way too much. On the other hand, I agree about most curries and curry powders being ruined by too much turmuric. When I need curry powder, I mix my own. And for some unknown reason, many cooks, including professionals, think they're doing something great when they use way too much cinnamon, turmuric, and saffron. They seem to enjoy stepping "subtle" up to " overwhelming." Idiots!

                  2. Clearly, you're not. Of course, it wouldn't matter if you were -- if you don't like it, you don't like it. No moral value or anti-social component whatsoever to preferences.

                    Meanwhile, I love it and can't get enough. ;> Along with cinnamon and cumin, it's one of my very favorite flavors.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: rainey

                      Wow, interesting! And I'm a cilantro lover!

                    2. I too am not a fan of turmeric. If it is not the dominant spice, I can tolerate it. I recently got a spice blend from Penzey's (it was free) that included turmeric in the ingredients (5th ingredient listed) and have used it a couple of times and seem to like it.

                      1. A friend of mine once cooked a 'curry' mistaking turmeric for curry powder - so turmeric was the only spice in the dish. It was completely inedible.
                        But a pinch or so added to other spices does add a balancing bitterness - it seems to offset the harshness that cumin can have.

                        1. I've no strong like/dislike towards turmeric, but preferred to use the fresh roots, rather than the powdered form. I guess it's an acquired taste, but some South-East Asian dishes really made full use of turmeric as the base flavor, e.g. Malay "ayam goreng kunyit" - turmeric-flavored fried chicken.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: klyeoh

                            I'm getting the impression that turmeric may be an acquired taste, so interesting!

                            1. re: monavano

                              Millions and millions of Indians (and a great many others) have no problem "acquiring" the taste...

                            2. re: klyeoh

                              I love the fresh roots - you can eat them raw, like a spicy carrot! (And they temporarily dye your teeth a pleasant orange color.) The flavor bears little resemblance to the powdered stuff, although that's useful too.

                              1. re: Sarah Perry

                                Equal opportunity hater here!

                                My husband insists on throwing the fresh root in the juicer when we make juice (every &^#%#% week) because of the health benefits. On the occasional weeks when we are out of turmeric, the juice suddenly tastes really good...instead of having a funky "wang to it", as my Dad would say. Further, my sainted grandmother had a signature slaw w/ ground turmeric. I think it was the only thing she ever made I wouldn't eat. bleh. Let me know if any of you lovers want the recipe ;-)

                            3. Huh, I like it just fine and never noticed an extreme taste to it. I love the color and I like to add it to frying onions or sometimes to oil that I'm planning to fry an egg in. I generally don't use it in solitary arrangements but rather combined with paprika or other spices.

                              The one spice that does sometimes catch me off guard is ground cumin. Sometimes it smells like BO to me. But I use it anyway because I like the effect in dishes.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: tcamp

                                So interesting, I can't get enough of cumin! but BO is kinda right.

                                1. re: tcamp

                                  I don't mind it but Ive never noticed that tumeric has a distinct flavor. It imparts a yellow color that has little or no flavor, but I love Indian food.

                                  I love the slightly smoky taste of cumin and cilantro.

                                2. I have some very old turmeric that doesn't have much flavor at all (dust?) but is useful for color.

                                  1. Turmeric seems to be getting a second life amongst cooks interested in the potential beneficial effects of curcumin. In my experience, because this ingredient isn't common to Western cuisine, a lot of the new recipes overuse it (perhaps subscribing to the more-is-better philosophy of medicine) or don't use it to its benefit, imho.

                                    I never use turmeric on its own. To me, it has a bitter slightly metallic taste that I don't much need. But that same bitterness gives a backbone to spice blends, filling out flavors to coat the palate. When you use turmeric in aloo gobi, it doesn't just turn the cauliflower a pretty yellow color; the turmeric brings life to the bittersweet flavors in the vegetables, it lifts the coriander and gives substance to your spice mix. Turmeric is a seasoning, not a food dye. If you are looking for a natural food dye, you might want to consider annatto, which has a milder earthy flavor that you might find less intrusive.

                                    1. You shouldn't be able to taste the turmeric powder in a dish. If you can taste the turmeric, you are using too much. Even in the few dishes in which turmeric is used to create a yellow color effect in the food, only a pinch is used.

                                      It is used for its health properties in the food, not really for its flavor. It is sort of like an anti-septic that makes the dish clean, helps digestion, and cleanses the body. Interestingly, recent scientific research confirms these ayurvedic benefits of turmeric, among others.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: luckyfatima

                                        Any dish that I eat should not need an anti-septic to clean the dish or help digestion.

                                        If it does, why would I eat it? Why would anyone eat it? Especially if you aren't supposed to taste it.

                                        One person posted that it took 10 years to to get used to an herb. Why would someone keep trying to get used to something they don't like?

                                        I have made no secret that I don't care for Indian cuisine. I have tried it a few times. I didn't like it. End of story. There is no reason for me to keep seeking out a food I probably don't like. If I lived in India, I suppose that would be a reason to keep trying to acclimate to it. Maybe, even if I had to travel to India on a regular basis, there might be a reason.

                                        1. re: Hank Hanover

                                          Beans are pretty famous for needing a digestion aid, but millions of people eat and love them.

                                          Personally, I hate bell peppers, but I keep trying to acquire the taste because they are in so many things. It's pretty difficult to avoid something so prevalent that menus often don't even list it as an ingredient.

                                          I hated kalamata olives the first time I tried them because I hadn't developed my bitter palate at that point. Now I love them and find them on the mild side.

                                          Your taste buds change on a pretty regular basis, so it's always worthwhile to keep an open mind and try things again periodically - something you used to hate may become a new favorite. My list includes: beets, brussels sprouts, goat cheese, various black olives and raw mushrooms. Still working on fennel and green bell peppers, though I can tolerate the red/yellow/orange ones now.

                                          1. re: LisaPA

                                            Liver and mushrooms were anathema to me when I was young. Quite a different situation now.

                                      2. Of course, you are not alone. You will rarely be alone at anything. However, I don't share that feeling with you. I actually like turmeric. Everyone is different.

                                        1. wow. i didn't know people had a strong aversion to it. i can hardly taste it. perhaps it's because i only use it in curries where there's lots of other spices.

                                          1. Don't hate so much cause look where it is on the ORAC Value List. It even beats Acai Berry with 127,068 value. Now i get why I see it showing up in vitamins.


                                            I'm glad that I can't taste it cause I'm going to start adding the fresh Turmeric root to my green smoothies.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: Funkalicious

                                              Funk, and have you read that adding ground black pepper to the turmeric increases its healthful properties? I make a paste of ground turmeric, black pepper, crushed fresh garlic, lemon juice and olive oil & spread it over wild-caught salmon fillets...let it marinate for 30 minutes and then bake the fish...comes out very nicely. Also, turmeric is easy to add to tuna fish or salmon salads!

                                              1. re: Val

                                                That's what I've been reading, too. It's really making the rounds in all the nutrition/health magazines lately. They sell Curcumin supplements and some of them are enhanced with pepper for better absorption, allegedly. I take the Curcumin pills (no taste that I notice, but I like Turmeric.)

                                                Obviously the fresh spice is the way to go, but since most of us won't eat enough Turmeric to get the benefits, they say do a combination of the supplement and add it to food whenever possible.

                                            2. Penzey's turmeric is particularly strong. They say to use 2/3 of the amount a recipe calls for.

                                              1. Interestingly, this chap attributed the use of turmeric for his win ("Best Sandwich in the World") in the Sandwich World Cup in France a week ago :-D

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: klyeoh

                                                  Interesting! I'm glad for him. Hmm...now I have a slight hankering developing for some "Wong Keong Kai". :-)

                                                2. Gosh, I never realized that turmeric had any taste at all. I just sprinkled some Penzey's I have onto hot plain rice, and you know, it does taste like something! (Not sure what, though.) I'll have to start using this. I forget why I bought it a couple of years ago.

                                                  Now fenugreek, that's a spice to hate. I react to both the smell and taste of it as if it was badly rancid meat, so I can't even be near it when I'm eating, even if it's just in a dish at another table in a restaurant.