How To Grow Your Own Turmeric
By Kirsten Cowart
With turmeric becoming extremely popular, we wanted to make a quick “grower’s guide” so that you can grow your own! Now you can have a homegrown source of this amazing medicinal root for you to use whenever you need.
There are benefits to having the fresh root instead of the spice as well. The fresh root has a resinous flavor, whereas the spice has almost a burnt taste.
The root of turmeric is a wonderful anti-inflammatory and is something that you need to have in your kitchen (it’s not even that hard to grow, either)!
The Turmeric Growing Guide
The turmeric plant is a member of the ginger root family and, just like other roots of that type, it grows best in a tropical climate. Turmeric won’t do well in a frost climate or anything that gets too cold. It does best if grown in containers and can be moved inside when the plant is dormant in the winter months.
In the early summer, you can find turmeric root at most nurseries that supply subtropical plants. If you are already experienced at growing, then you may be able to propagate your own starter root from the edible rhizomes of the turmeric root. Fresh Turmeric rhizomes look like small emaciated ginger roots with a brilliant orange flesh. The orange will show through the tan-colored skin.
Fresh roots are often imported from Fiji and may also be available from Indian Spice or produce traders.
Basic Steps For Growing Your Turmeric:
1. To grow your own turmeric, pick out the largest and least shrivelled root that you can find. Leave them in a warm, dry place away from direct sunlight until shoots begin to appear. This may take several weeks to accomplish. Make sure that the roots don’t rot before they begin to grow (you could skip this step, but again, your roots may rot before growing).
2. Plant the roots in a blend of potting mix and good quality compost, shoot side up. Turmeric doesn’t grow deep roots and needs to be planted in shallow tubs around 20cm or so. When watering, be careful and place the turmeric in very sunny and warm spots.
3. It works best if you plant two different batches. One will be for harvesting in late fall and one for producing the next year’s starter roots. You harvest the root when the foliage starts to die down.
4. Water regularly (except during dormancy in the winter months, when all watering should be suspended) and apply a liquid fertilizer every 2 weeks.
How To Use Your Turmeric
Once you have fresh turmeric root grown, it will shrivel quickly, so make sure you use it soon or freeze it for long term use (most recipes will have you grate the roots, this is easier when it is frozen).
Here is a Bonus Recipe that you can use with chicken, lamb, paneer or vegetables. This is a mildly flavored dish that is a delicious way to try out your newly grown turmeric. Give it a try and let us know how you like it and how your growing experience goes, we love to hear from you!
- 1 onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
- 1 tbsp grated fresh turmeric
- ½ tsp garam masala
- ½ tsp ground white pepper
- ½ cup raw cashew nuts soaked in a little warm water for 1 hour
- Pinch of ground saffron soaked in a little warm water
- 3 cardamom pods
- 1 can coconut milk (BPA-free)
- 1 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
- 2 tbsp shredded curry leaves
- Blend the onion, ginger, garlic and garam masala to a paste. Sauté them gently in the oil until it is tender.
- Make a paste from the cashews and the ingredients you had previously soaking in water: turmeric, pepper and saffron.
- Add the paste to the onion mixture then stir in coconut milk and cardamom. Simmer until it becomes thick, taking extra care to not let it burn.
- Remove the cardamom then add the meat or veggies till cooked.
- To "temper" the curry, fry some mustard seeds and curry leaves in hot oil until they pop. Then quickly stir the mix into korma.
- You can enjoy this dish with some homemade rice and spicy mango pickles.
Kirsten Cowart is a writer and researcher that has worked in the spiritual, mental health and medical fields.Kirsten enjoys studying and experiencing the benefits of yoga, meditation, nutrition, herbalism, organic gardening and alternative health.She worked hard in 2014 losing over 40 lbs. and has since maintained a healthy lifestyle.Follow her to learn more about her journey on Twitter, Facebook & Youtube!
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