With the impending freeze last week, my mom and I harvested all our turmeric roots from the garden. Now I am forced to do something with it, right? So, I made turmeric powder that we can use in our cooking throughout the year. Turmeric is used regularly in our kitchens in India. We grew up looking at this yellow powder, eating it and sometimes being left with the color on our fingers or feet (will talk about this later)!!!
So how did I get started with growing turmeric? As a passionate gardener and a master gardener I am always looking to grow unusual stuff in my garden. Living with my mom, a nonagenarian (yes, I just learnt this word – this means she in her 90s), who has gardened all her life, both back in India and here as well, I get more inspiration to do these things. I can blame her for my unequivocal gardening genes.
Where to get them: However, I started off with buying a few turmeric rhizomes from the Indian grocery store a few years back and have been recirculating them since then. Of course, you can also get them from friends.
When to plant them: The turmeric rhizomes are planted around March to May, once it warms up. If you want just a few, you can plant them in a pot, but if you want a lot and prefer for the roots to spread and make more rhizomes, then plant them in the ground.
Plant characteristics: Turmeric has beautiful, elongated leaves and gives out a tropical look. Once established, it comes out with beautiful flowers towards the Fall season. It may grow up to 4-6 feet so keep that in mind when you are planning to plant. My suggestion is to plant the rhizomes in the back row, either in the vegetable garden or among flower beds.
When to harvest: Typically, I harvest around this time of the year, unless I am forced to do it earlier if a freeze threatens. Once harvested, brush off the soil and wash them thoroughly. And now comes the hard work and fun part of making the turmeric powder.
Turmeric powder making – step by step:
Step 1 - harvest the turmeric rhizomes by pulling them out completely from the ground
Wash them thoroughly, using a brush to remove any soil around the roots
Repeat this step until you don't see even a small spec of soil
Step 2 - Chop up the turmeric into small round pieces.
Chopping into small pieces is important since only then they will dry thoroughly and quickly
Step 3: Arrange the pieces in the dehydrator trays. Set it up for vegetables and fruits setting. Even though I did not try it, you may probably do this in the oven as well. Let it run through the night. Next morning break one piece to check if it is dry throughout. If not, let it dry for some more time.
Step 4 - Make sure the pieces are crisp and you can easily break them
Step 5 - Grind dried turmeric pieces into a fine powder (I used the mighty Vitamix)
Step 6 - Sieve the ground powder to remove any small pieces of turmeric. You have to repeat this step a few times until you can maximize the quantity of fine turmeric powder
That's it. Now you can scoop up the turmeric powder into a glass bottle, label it and use it throughout the year
What else can you use turmeric powder for?
Turmeric powder has been used as part of beauty rituals in many cultures. Modern science is also touting the benefits of using turmeric both externally and internally.
Here is an excerpt from Healthline with a few recipes:
How to make a face mask
The key to making a turmeric face mask is to combine turmeric powder or extract with a thickening agent to make a paste. Some of the ingredients may vary based on skin concern:
For acne and antibacterial concerns, combine turmeric with warm water and honey.
For hyperpigmentation and wrinkles, combine turmeric with yogurt and lemon juice for extra nourishment and brightening effects.
For irritation, mix turmeric extract with aloe vera gel for natural soothing effects.
For antioxidant power, simply combine turmeric with water (you may add a small amount of almond or rice flour to make this mask thicker and easier to apply).
Full article link here - https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/turmeric-face-mask#recipes
Here are some recipes for health from Johns Hopkins Medicine:
Like ginger, turmeric root can be made into a nourishing and tasty tea. Here’s Brown’s method:
2 tablespoons turmeric root chopped or 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
Bring to a boil in 1–2 cups water
Lower to simmer for 5 minutes and then strain.
“You can drink turmeric tea warm or cold and add lemon and/or honey to change the taste,” Brown advises.
Recipe: Curried Pumpkin Butternut Squash Creamy Vegan Soup
1 pound each pumpkin and butternut squash, peeled and diced
2 shallots, diced
2–3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
2 tablespoons grated turmeric root or 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
4 cups vegetable stock or broth
1 can unsweetened coconut milk (can use full fat or low fat)
Salt and pepper
1. Roast pumpkin and butternut squash with olive oil, salt, and pepper at 400 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes. They are done when they are fork tender.
2. In a large heavy stock pot or Dutch oven, sauté shallot, red curry paste and turmeric in olive oil for 8 to 10 minutes. The shallot should be soft and translucent.
3. Add vegetable broth, roasted pumpkin, and squash.
4. Simmer for at least 20 minutes.
5. Taste and adjust with salt, pepper, or red curry paste.
6. Add coconut milk and simmer.
7. Blend either with stand blender or immersion blender.
Full article link here - https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/turmeric-benefits
And most of us are familiar with golden milk – here is the recipe for it (courtesy of Healthline)
How to Make Golden Milk
Golden milk is easy to make at home. For a single serving of golden milk or about one cup, simply follow this recipe:
1/2 cup (120ml) of an unsweetened milk of your choice
1 tsp of turmeric
1 small piece of grated fresh ginger or 1/2 tsp of ginger powder
1/2 tsp of cinnamon powder
1 pinch of ground black pepper
1 tsp of honey or maple syrup (optional)
To make the golden milk, simply mix all ingredients in a small saucepan or pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes or until fragrant and flavorful. Strain the drink through a fine strainer into mugs and top with a pinch of cinnamon.
Golden milk can also be made in advance and stored in your refrigerator for up to five days. Simply reheat it before drinking.
Summary Golden milk is easy to make at home by following the recipe above. Simply mix the ingredients in a saucepan or pot and heat them up for a delicious and healthy beverage
Link to full article here - https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/golden-milk-turmeric#TOC_TITLE_HDR_13
There you have it my friends – go ahead and experiment. You also can buy organic turmeric powder from amazon and enjoy all the benefits😊 - would love to hear your own experiments with turmeric