Turmeric… A Food for Everyone

Turmeric is a  food that heals.  It has great medicinal value.  So why isn’t it a part of our everyday cuisine in America? I wish it were.  I have been taking steps to make it a part of our everyday meals. 

Turmeric Rhizome.

Turmeric is the rhizome of the Curcuma longa plant.  It’s in the ginger family and I grew some just like I did with the ginger rhizomes.  I purchased my turmeric rhizomes at a health food store in the produce section (right next to the ginger).  I put the rhizomes in a big pot and lightly covered them with soil.  Then I waited patiently.  It took awhile for them to grow but it was worth the wait.  The plant is absolutely lovely.

This is my turmeric growing in a pot. I think I planted this around March, but I didn't take note of my planting date.

This is turmeric that I planted in the ground two years ago. It goes dormant in the winter and comes back beautifully in the summer.

Turmeric  is a warm and humid weather plant.  It goes dormant in the winter in my zone 9b in Southwest Florida.  My turmeric survived an extremely harsh Florida winter this past year, which surpised me.  It is generally harvested on an annual basis after about 9 months of growing.   Extra rhizome is usually saved to continue growing more.  I have turmeric growing in two places in my yard and both are in full sun, but get some shade from other plants.  They are healthy and happy. 

After turmeric is harvested,  it is boiled, dried and ground up into a powder.  When the rhizome is peeled (it has a very thin skin) it has a deep orange color to it.  The main substance in turmeric is Curcumin and this is also what gives it the orange color.

Fresh turmeric.

More fresh sliced turmeric.

When fresh turmeric is sliced open, it will stain your fingers and it’s not easy to remove.  It will also stain your teeth.   I like to slice a small piece off and put it in the blender with milk and honey… my own special turmeric milkshake.  My husband and I both love it this way.   It’s quick, easy, tastes great and doesn’t stain our teeth. 

Turmeric is touted as a powerful anti-inflammatory as well as a powerful antioxidant.  It is also considered a cancer fighting food.  I have heard many times over the years that it doesn’t take much of it to provide extraordinary benefits.  A lunch of curried vegetables would suffice.  Everything in moderation.  To read more about the health benefits of turmeric and it’s side effects, click here.

 The list of health benefits from consuming turmeric is long.  So are the delicious ways to include it in your meals.  Turmeric is good stuff!

Curcuma longa. The leaves can be used to wrap foods in for cooking. (The plant on the bottom left is a frangipani and the bottom right is a hibiscus).

Don’t let your bottle of ground turmeric be forgotten in your spice drawer.  Does yours have dust on the cap?  Blow the dust off and add a couple of pinches to some plain yogurt with a little honey and cinnamon and start enjoying the awesome benefits.  I really enjoy the taste of  fresh turmeric so I like to grow my own.  It feels great to have it whenever I feel for it and all I have to do is stick a knife in the soil and cut a little piece off.  It’s so easy.  I’ve also heard that it deters ants in the garden too. 

Come grow with us!

17 Responses to “Turmeric… A Food for Everyone”

  1. Hi.. I am from India and we use turmeric in our everyday cooking because it is loaded with medicinal value. Being an excellent antiseptic, we add a dash of turmeric to everything we cook.

  2. hi, I’m looking how to grow turmeric and I found your website. I live in NC, do you think turmeric will survive during winter time if I plant it in the ground? . I’m zero about gardening. do I have to put all the turmeric in the ground, or just part of the turmeric? thank you.

    • I doubt that turmeric would survive in NC if planted in the ground. However, I think you could certainly try growing it in a pot and protecting it from the freezes in the winter. Pick a medium-sized, dark-colored, plastic pot and use some potting soil, not yard soil. Put some crushed styrofoam at the bottom of the pot underneath the soil for drainage and to keep the pot light so you can move it in the winter. Bury your turmeric rhizome just below the surface and cover it with a layer of soil. Keep it moist, but not too wet until it gets established. You can use the entire piece of turmeric or just a part of it, either way. You want to use a piece that isn’t too dried out and hopefully has a few nodules on it. Don’t sweat the details, just give it a try. Be patient though because it can take a couple months to start growing. Good luck!

  3. stumbled upon your site while looking for sources of this plant. I want to use it because it appears to help in the prevention of Alzheimer’s Desease which runs in the family. People in India have a much lower rate; anyway, it seems whole foods may have it. Thanks, enjoyed the visit

  4. Jose Nogueira Says:

    Hi. I am portuguese and i don´t find Curcuma longa in Portugal where i live. Do you know where can i buy some?

  5. sue murat Says:

    Hi – Do you know where I can get fresh turmeric? I was ordering it from a farm in Hawaii and it is currently out of season. Thanks

    • Hello, I don’t know where you live but I’m going to assume it’s somewhere in the States. I get this question quite a bit and I recommend that you look for a Whole Foods store. They almost always have fresh turmeric in the produce section.

      • sue murat Says:

        Hi There – Yes, I’m from California, and our Whole Foods is currently out. I’ve bought turmeric there in the past, and it is usually quite old! They get their supply from Hawaii also. Is there anyone that you know of who grows it in Florida? Seems like that would be the only place in the states with the proper climate.

      • Hi Sue,
        You are right. It seems that turmeric is hard to find in Cali. Send me an email at PickMeYard@aol.com.

  6. Hi…I love reading your entry about turmeric. I am from Malaysia in south east asia region. Here, we also cook using turmeric and turmeric leaves. It is a must plant/herbs in our backyard because we cook using it almost everyday. Try to fry/roast your fish or chicken after marinate it with mix of blended or pestled fresh turmeric, ginger, garlic and salt. Oh…forgot about the turmeric leave, we can wrap the chicken/fish and roast it. It’s so aromatic.🙂

    There are other recipes called beef/chicken Rendang using blended turmeric, dried chilies or super hot chillies (Capsicum frutescens), red onion, ginger, lemongrass, galingale (Alpinia galanga). Cook it slowly with chicken or beef, put 2/3 turmeric leaves, salt and sugar for tasting. We cook this for special occasion. We eat this rendang with cube rice (ketupat), rice cook in coconut leaves.

    My favorite thirst quenching mixture is lemon, turmeric, ginger & stevia in cold water. The freshness tickled my tongue, feels like carbonated drink without the gas.😀 If you like it, you can try it too.

    I just realized that turmeric has a very good properties to good health when come across to websites such as yours. Even though I use it everyday. slap my face..🙂

    In my culture, traditional midwife will provide a drink from mixture of turmeric and tamarind. They said it will revive the health of woman’s womb after delivery and help to lose weight. Oh..so much to tell just about turmeric. 😀

    Okay..good day and happy gardening to you and your family.

    • Wonderful information… thank you for taking the time to share! I will be trying that drink you suggested TODAY. It sounds incredible.

      • Your welcome🙂

        And oh..just remember, if you don’t have stevia, you can use honey. It’s more delicious with honey though.

        I like to share my recipes using those herbs. Living in tropical region, we use any leaves/fruits around us to make our dishes.
        Our elders teach us from generation to generation.😀 Hope that we will never lose it, because younger generation are embracing fast food as new way of life. I also favor pizza and McDonald😀

  7. presa1200 Says:

    that’s right, as mentioned by Ariyatna we use turmeric leaves and roots everyday, if you have no idea what to do with the leafy part after you harvested the roots then why not try looking up Malay or Indonesian recipes such as chicken simmered in coconut milk, fried rice or you can even use it for exotic herb salad.

    i’m so envious of your turmeric plants btw, they look so healthy and happy😀 there’s nothing more happier than seeing our own plants grow in the garden.

  8. Cay Small Says:

    I really enjoy your info on tumeric Today I rescued a bunch of plants that a neighbor called medicional ginger before it was run over by a truck Im sure its tumeric. I live in SW Florida so it will be easy to grow I love curries and am excited to have fresh tumeric for the first time. I appreciate the recipies people have contributed here. I never realized that one could use the whole plant Thankyou.

  9. Hey! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a
    quick shout out and say I genuinely enjoy reading your posts.
    Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same topics?
    Thank you!

  10. Turmeric from the fridge at the Indian market store: 15 cents. Score.

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