What is Turmeric?

Curcuma longa L

Ginger family, Zingerberaceae.

Part Used

The part of the plant used are the rhizomes (underground stem) which are either used fresh (like ginger) or boiled for 30-45 minutes, dried in hot ovens and then ground into a deep yellow powder used in cooking and imparting deep golden colour to food and other products. Fresh turmeric is not common but can be found in areas where it’s grown.

Turmeric Powder myfavouritepastime.com


Perennial herb up to 1.5m tall with a fleshy complex of rhizomes. Leaves alternate, up to 70 x 18 cm long. Flowers small, white with a yellow central streak.

Flavour of Turmeric

The taste or turmeric can be described as slightly bitter, slightly hot with a mustardy smell.

Use of Turmeric

Turmeric is cultivated for it’s rhizome, primarily as a dye source, especially in West Africa (to dye leather and cotton cloth) and secondly as a culinary spice.

It’s mainly used in savoury dishes like rice or curries, but occasionally used in sweet dishes, especially in India. Turmeric is also used as a cheap substitute for saffron (Crocus sativus), to impart colour because there is no similarity in flavour.

It’s one of the ingredients in curry powder.

By Simon A. Eugster [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons
Turmeric is used in the food industry, as a colouring agent, in processed foods and sauces, pharmaceuticals, confectionary and textiles.

Young shoots and rhizomes can be eaten fresh as a spicy vegetable.

It’s believed to have the potential of treating several diseases including: cancer, diabetes, dermatitis, common cold and allergies, just to mention a few.

Coconut rice with turmeric myfavouritepastime.com_1631

I love using turmeric because it imparts a nice colour to rice but it also enhances the flavour that would otherwise be bland.


Turmeric in PROTA 4 U DATABASE

Last Updated: May 8 2018

Author: Liz

I love everything food: eating, cooking, baking and travelling. I also love photography and nature.

5 thoughts

  1. Thanks for the post on turmeric. If I might tell you about an experience I encountered…two years ago I wintered on the Big Island of Hawaii with some relatives. We had visited one of the many farmers market and bought a small bag of the turmeric rhizomes after listening to the vendor expound on its benefits to health. So when we got back to our condo, we cleaned them up and cut some to boil in a small pot of water to extract the juice. We made a tea drink every day for over a week. It was slightly bitter but a spoonful of honey made it palatable. One of my cousins began having some stomach problems which only got worse. Since turmeric was the only new thing we had tried we went to mr. Google to see if it could be the cause. What we learned after some searching is that turmeric should not be taken with some drugs, specifically one that my cousin was taking. Once he stopped the turmeric tea, the problem subsided and finally went away. Speaking for myself, I had no problems with it and in fact felt quite good using it. So, just be wary if you are on medication and check to see if there could be an interaction! Otherwise, just enjoy it. It can also be mixed with lime for a wonderful refreshing drink!

    1. Thanks for letting me know about turmeric and drugs. I know I can’t eat grapefruits with the drugs I normally take. So I usually just admire them from afar.
      I take turmeric in small doses. I usually just add half a teaspoon in rice or whatever am cooking and so far I haven’t had any bad reactions. I must google and read more though. I am dozing and watching a cookery show….have a good night, Sandy

Please join the conversation.....

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.