Homemade Golden Milk Is Amazing for You — and So Much Easier Than You’d Think

By Julie Laing
|
February 1, 2022
golden milk

Golden milk looks just as heavenly as it sounds: This sunny, warming beverage brightens any winter day. It’s also a delicious way to enjoy the immunity-boosting effects of turmeric and ginger, two antioxidant-laden roots that are becoming increasingly popular in both fresh and powdered forms.

Read next: 10 Delicious Ways to Eat & Drink Turmeric

For maximum flavor and benefit, make golden milk with freshly-grated turmeric and ginger root. The brightly colored turmeric easily stains fingers and fabric, so it can be a bit messy in the kitchen. But by gloving up and premixing a paste, you can enjoy a steaming cuppa with minimal fuss.

The benefits of ginger and turmeric

Ginger and turmeric belong to the same plant family, and both have numerous anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Other benefits of ginger found in human and animal studies range from lower cholesterol to reduced body weight and less joint and muscle pain. Research has also shown that ginger can safely decrease nausea and vomiting — even during pregnancy, while undergoing chemotherapy, or resulting from seasickness.

Turmeric is truly a powerful rhizome. Its major bioactive components are phytonutrients called curcuminoids. The compound curcumin is well-studied and has been demonstrated to be a potent anti-inflammatory. It can also protect heart, vascular, and brain health; improve cholesterol; and reduce discomfort from irritable bowel syndrome.

Fresh ginger root is an easy find at most supermarkets, and while turmeric root isn’t quite as simple to spot, it’s become increasingly available at natural food stores and large chain grocers like Whole Foods may carry it alongside other specialty produce. Fresh turmeric has a knobby appearance similar to fresh ginger, but its orange flesh tends to peek through its papery skin. For both ginger and turmeric, look for firm roots with smooth skin. Younger roots will have thinner skin and be less stringy when grated.

Power partners: Black pepper and virgin coconut oil

Black pepper and a healthy fat like coconut oil add more than flavor to a batch of golden milk: They also make it easier for your body to absorb turmeric’s benefits. Without them, turmeric breaks down almost entirely before it hits your bloodstream and can send its beneficial components coursing through your body. The piperine in black pepper is particularly effective: It’s been shown to increase absorption of turmeric’s beneficial curcumin by 2000%.

Researchers have found that combining a fat like coconut oil or ghee with turmeric makes the root easier to absorb. A recent study reported that enriching virgin olive oil with turmeric had synergistic benefits.

Milks and seasonings

Turmeric can taste bitter in large quantities, but boiling the root reduces its bite. This makes a nondairy milk the ideal choice for golden milk, because cow’s or goat’s milk can scald when boiled. Soy milk can have as much protein as cow’s milk, but you could also substitute almond, cashew, or coconut. If you heat a milk that’s inclined to burn, keep a careful eye on the brew to keep the temperature on target.

You can dress up golden milk with other health-promoting and flavorful seasonings. For instance, consider adding a stick of cinnamon, some cardamom seeds, or a vanilla bean to the pot, or swap the floral tones of honey for maple syrup’s stronger, nuttier taste. A pinch of sea salt can enhance all of the beverage’s flavors.

Julie Laing has been blogging about eating well year-round at Twice As Tasty for more than five years. She published her first cookbook, “The Complete Guide to Pickling,” in 2020.

Read next: Pan-Seared Scallops with Ginger-Butternut Mash

Homemade Golden Milk

SERVES

8

PREP TIME

15 min

COOK TIME

10 min

Ingredients

6 inches fresh ginger root (about 1/4 cup when grated)

6 inches fresh turmeric root (about 1/4 cup when grated)

1/4 cup virgin coconut oil

12–16 whole black peppercorns

2 qt unsweetened soy milk

1/4 cup raw honey

Directions

Put on gloves, then make your paste: Using the side of a spoon or a small knife, peel the ginger and turmeric. With a fine-holed or ginger grater, grate both roots. Place the gratings in a small food processor.

Add the coconut oil and peppercorns to the gratings, and grind into a smooth paste. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

For each serving, pour 1 cup of soy milk into a medium saucepan, and then whisk in 1-1/2 tablespoons of turmeric–ginger paste. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring often so that it doesn’t burn or boil over. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, stirring often, for 5 to 10 minutes, until golden.

Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the 1/2 tablespoon of honey, or to taste, until it is dissolved. Lay cheesecloth in a small fine-mesh sieve set over a wide mug, and pour the golden milk through to strain. Serve warm.

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