Turmeric is a member of the ginger family and its rhizomes add a golden colour to curries. It is a herbaceous perennial native to tropical Southeast Asia. It forms a dense clump of aromatic foliage to about 1m, spreading rhizomes that are brown with bright yellow flesh. The flowers are borne in dense spikes with yellow and white to orange tubular flowers. The leaves are simple and the lamina extends to the base of the stems.

Fresh Turmeric
Fresh Turmeric

Turmeric requires a rich, moist soil and consistently warm temperatures in order to flourish. Plants die back underground each winter and will survive some frosts.

Boil the rhizomes for several hours before drying and powdering. Buy plump, firm, clean rhizomes. They should have a warm, mild aroma and an earthy, musky flavour. Turmeric can be used fresh or dried and ground, and adds a brilliant yellow colour to foods. It is used in curry powders and pastes, pickles and chutneys, vegetable, rice and lentil dishes (especially in India, where is often partners potatoes and cauliflower), and with poultry, fish and shellfish. It is also an ingredient in the Moroccan spice blend chermoula. Turmeric Curcumin also contains many health benefits and is a powerful antioxidant.

information sourced from The Complete Book of Herbs

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