This plant has been a mystery to us, we thought it might be galangal and were incredibly delighted when we recently discovered we have turmeric growing. The plant is well established in front of the Booyong cabin and has flourished despite being mowed over on occasion (oops). It seems to grow well in our temperate zone and clay soil which is quite miraculous really.
Turmeric is a native to south east Asia and belongs to the ginger family, it can reach 80cm high and will spread to form large clumps. When it dies down in winter we will harvest it and plant the crowns, it will then re-shoot is spring. The foliage as you can see is lush and green and apparently it produces tall white flower spikes if clumps are left for a year. We haven’t seen these at Booyong, perhaps due to a lack of water and neglect. We honestly did not know what this plant was. Brett cooper at Limestone Permaculture has a great you tube video on harvesting turmeric you might like to watch.
You can use fresh shop bought turmeric to grow your own plants, the root just needs to be planted 10-15cm deep. September or October is the best time to plant. In the growing season plants can be fed with manure and need to be kept well-watered. It requires a well-drained soil, frost-free. Turmeric also benefits from light shade and kangaroo’s and possums don’t seem to eat it which is great!
Turmeric can be stored by wrapping it loosely in aluminum foil and kept in the veggie crisper of the fridge. It will last a few weeks, and can be used fresh, grated or added to curries and hot and cold drinks. In Indonesia, the young shoots and rhizome tips are eaten raw. It can also be used in marinades and dressings, stir-fry dishes, casseroles, soups, curries and Mediterranean-style cooking.
You can dry turmeric at home but it is a lengthy and complicated process involving boiling the roots, drying them (for 7-8 days) and then processing. Ground turmeric purchased in stores has 25% curry powder to give it a vibrant colour.
Turmeric is also often used as a colour agent for yellow food dye. It can stain easily so be sure to wear gloves and avoid getting it on clothing.
Research suggests, Turmeric has a wide range of health giving properties:
- Preventing cancer
- Reduce symptoms of arthritis
- Pain relief
- Improve liver function
- Aids digestion
- Treatment for irritable bowel syndrome
- Lower Cholesterol
- Decrease Blood pressure
- Ease symptoms of PMS (premenstrual tension)
- Prevention of neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s
- Support immune health
Like any property it can have both positive and negative effects. Negative effects can include an upset stomach, thin your blood and it can bring on contractions if pregnant,
It is important to use caution when trying something new, especially in large doses. As with any alternative therapy, speak with your doctor before you use turmeric to treat any health condition that you have.
We are seeing turmeric pop up in cafes and restaurants everywhere and I have sourced some new found popularity popular recipes for you:
This Turmeric hot milk is used as a Indian natural medicine as a winter drink to heal coughs and sore throats.
½ teaspoon of turmeric (fresh grated or powder)
½ teaspoon of fresh grated ginger
2 cups of milk
Spices (optional) cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon, cayenne pepper
Honey to taste
Combine all ingredients except the honey in a pot. Simmer for 2-3 minutes. Strain. Add the honey once the mixture has cooled a little.
1/2 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice
12 mm piece of fresh ginger, grated
12 mm piece of fresh turmeric, grated
2 tablespoons of honey
Stir all the ingredients together. Drink up
Mommypotamus has a great post on Turmeric Tonic
- 2 cups coconut water
- 2 inch knob fresh turmeric (1 oz weighed) OR 1/2 – 1 teaspoon dried turmeric
- 1 inch fresh ginger root (about 1/2 oz weighed)
- •1 lemon
- 1/4 teaspoon unrefined sea salt (where to buy unrefined salt)
- 1-2 tablespoons honey (where to buy honey)
- pinch of black pepper (optional)
Our lovely neighbours make similar shots every morning and have recently gifted us some Jam made with the pulp – We’re very excited to try it and will share the recipe soon.
1.Place coconut water, turmeric and ginger root in a blender and give it a whir.
2.When the turmeric/ginger is finely shredded, strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve into a jar.
3.3, Add lemon juice, sea salt, and honey to taste. Serve, preferably with a food containing healthy fats and black pepper for enhanced absorption.
Hummus is one of our favourite recipes so I had to include this one for you – Dreamy Creamy Turmeric Sweet Potato Hummus
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 30 mins
Serves: 2 cups
- 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- ½ lemon, juiced
- 1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
1.Pre-heat the oven to 175ºC / 350ºF.
2.Place the sweet potatoes on a baking tray and toss together with the spices and garlic.
3.Bake for 30-40 minutes until sweet potatoes are tender.
4.Let cool and add to a food processor with remaining ingredients, except the olive oil.
5.Blend until combined, then with the motor running slowly drizzle in the olive oil until smooth and creamy.
6.Taste test and adjust, then serve with veggie crudités or pitta chips!