Turmeric

Turmeric’s deep, earthy flavour is wonderful, and a favourite way to consume it is fresh, but as we had plenty from this harvest, we processed some.

It’s easy to know when Turmeric is ready to harvest. After around eight to ten months in the earth, you will have seen the green foliage flourishing during the monsoon, then gradually browning and dying back as the dry winter season comes in. That’s when it’s ready to harvest. Dig carefully into the earth, using the brown dried stalks as an indicator of where you’ll find the rhizomes, and carefully pull them up.

Tumeric Rosie 01

We separated the “fingers” from the “mother”. If you look carefully at the harvest pic you’ll notice the beautiful pattern that the mothers and the fingers make. Let the excess earth that may be stuck on dry for a bit so that it can be easily brushed off. Separate the mothers from the fingers. Put the pieces into a bowl of water. Scrub each piece with a nail brush, tooth brush or other little brush that will clean them well. Rinse. Slice. Lay out on a drying tray or rack. It was interesting to see that some of the pieces had such an intensely deeper orange colour.

There are many references saying to boil the Turmeric for 45 minutes before drying. After asking around, many people don’t follow this step. It seems that boiling would also detract from the quality and colour? Any idea why boiling is recommended? Perhaps for commercial quantities, long storage, and concerns over spoilage? We didn’t boil ours, nor peel it.

Tumeric Rosie 02

We’ve been having some odd weather here in Goa. This time of the year it should be dry with sunny blue skies every day. For days on end. About eight months of them. But just when it was decided to sun-dry the Turmeric, the cloudy days just kept rolling in. So, after tiring of the dance bringing the drying tray from sun to shelter and back again each time we needed to go out and didn’t want them potentially rained on, the drying process was finished in the shade and shelter of the front verandah. For such a tiny homestead quantity it was the perfect place. Gentle direct sunshine from the low morning sun rising up over the neighbouring paddy field, followed by the shaded heat of the day. As the slices were cut quite fine, the mostly shade-drying process worked well. Some Red Chillies, Roselle and Black Pepper also ended up on the tray to dry.
What are your thoughts about sun vs. shade drying?

Grinding in the home grinder gave a result that was not as fine as industrial Turmeric powder, nor was the colour as vibrant. Could this be the peels giving a coarser result? Might the colour be brighter if the slices were thicker? Pretty happy with the more rustic colour and texture, though. And it’s fragrant and tasty.
What’s your experience of home-grinding small quantities?

Tumeric rosie 03

How do you process your Turmeric? Any tips? Troubles to avoid?

Here are some reference articles that you might find interesting:
http://www.therainforestgarden.com/2011/12/how-to-grow-turmeric.html
http://www.celkau.in/Crops/Spices/Turmeric/processing.aspx
http://www.turmericforhealth.com/faqs/comprehensive-list-of-turmeric-faqs

Are there other good resources that you may have come across and would like to share?

By Rosie Harding

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Rosie and Peter have regenerated a piece of degraded land in Goa, India, to become an abundant and productive Kitchen Garden and Food Forest which thrives as part of a sustainable and resilient ecosystem. The garden serves our own food needs, provides a surplus for friends, and serves for demonstration & education, and research and development purposes. We are actively involved in awareness and outreach to individuals and organisations who wish to participate in every aspect of local food security.

This is where we share some of our experiences, knowledge and questions from our adventures with our own Home Kitchen Garden & Food Forest:

https://www.facebook.com/RosieAndPeter

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