This Diwali, I’m Gifting Everyone I Love This $10 Pungent Jar of Good Health

updated Oct 15, 2020
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Diwali festive preparations with a plate of sweets ,diyas,money,kumkum and haldi.
Credit: © Manogna Reddy | Getty Images

Usually packed with back-to-back dinners and card parties, the week of Diwali is shaping up to be a rather somber affair this year. My inbox is yet to receive any invites, and most people I usually celebrate with have moved out of the city to more spacious temporary homes. But despite the lack of festivities, I have decided to keep up with the tradition of gifting. And this year calls for something a little more thoughtful. So I have decided to go with the one single ingredient every Indian kitchen has in bulk: turmeric! And sure, it’s not the most innovative gift, but it’s the only one that truly symbolizes all the feels I have been feeling for the past few months. Let me explain.

Long before turmeric became a superfood, my grandmother was mixing it with milk, saffron, and crushed dry fruits and forcing my little cousins and me to drink a glass before bedtime every single night. Any accidental cuts or bleeding wounds were first treated with a dab of turmeric before being cleaned and wrapped in bandage. The Indian equivalent of daily multivitamins is essentially a thick paste of herbs and spices, with turmeric being the most dominant flavor. And even when I’m cooking non-Indian dishes like pasta, frittatas, or blending smoothies, my natural instinct is to sprinkle a little bit of the golden powder for good luck. Sure, it’s just a tiny jar of a rather bitter spice, but it’s the only thing right now that conveys the love and positive vibes I wish to send out into the world.

And when it comes to providing turmeric in the United States, no one does it better than Burlap & Barrel. The online spice shop works directly with small, independently owned farms across India to source the most high-quality, organic spices produced using traditional techniques. Plus, the turmeric sourced is grown in Southern India, aka the golden belt of the country that’s known for producing the most earthy, bitter, peppery, and pungent turmeric rhizomes or roots. Basically, it doesn’t get better than this.

Burlap & Barrel also stocks a wide range of spices including cumin, cinnamon, sumac, and cardamom, to name a few, as well as specialized items like jars of pure honey, marinades, and rubs. But for now, I’m planning on getting just a single jar of bright yellow turmeric for my close friends who’ve become like family in this home away from home. It’s a small, thoughtful (and pungent!) way to let them know that even though we don’t get to dance to Bollywood tunes all night and stuff our face with sweets and crunchy savory snacks, I’m still sending them a little joy and good health. Something we could all use this year!