Scientific name: Curcuma longa

Used often in Indian dishes and some Asian dishes, turmeric is closely related to ginger with its many medicinal uses as well as kitchen versatility. It is very beneficial with being antioxidant rich, anti-inflammatory, and immune boosting.

Traditionally used as a remedy for jaundice and other liver and gallbladder problems.

Pro tip: when using turmeric, adding a little black pepper helps the body absorb its nutrients.

Nutrients

  • Essential oils
    • Zingiberene
    • Turmerone
  • Curcumin
  • Bitters
  • Resins

Health Benefitsturmeric root health benefits

  • Improves liver health
  • Immune booster
  • Treats colds, coughs
  • Anti-inflammatory: can improve arthritis, osteoarthritis, etc.
  • Antibacterial: due to curcumin
  • Rich in antioxidants
  • Anti-cancer: due to curcumin, esp. breast, colon, prostate, skin, and esophageal cancer; current studies on lymphoma
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Anti-coagulant action
  • Digestive aid: esp. for fats and oils by stimulating bile flow
  • Inhibits excessive yeast growth: stabilizes microflora in digestive system

Cooking Tips

Tasted in classic Indian curry dishes and foods like mustard, you may or may not have tried experimenting with this slightly intimidating spice! Probably the easiest thing is to start with a pinch in something familiar, like scrambled eggs, and moving up from there.

Pairings

  • Scrambled eggs
  • Roasted vegetables – cauliflower, potatoes, root veggies
  • Rice
  • Various sauteed greens
  • Soups
  • Smoothies
  • Tea (Golden Milk seen below)

Quick Remedies

(consult a doctor if experiencing any serious conditions)

  • Healthy skin: if you use face masks, feel free to add 1/ 2 tsp turmeric to it and enjoy
  • Immune booster – classic Golden Milk: 1 tsp turmeric, 2 cups milk (dairy, almond, coconut), 1/2 tsp cinnamon, pinch black pepper, honey (optional). Mix everything into a blender, then heat on the stove for 3-5 min until hot

How to Grow

Planting

Turmeric doesn’t produce seeds, so is grown from a piece of root or rhizome.

Where do you live?

Turmeric thrives best in tropical locations, zones 8-11. It can be grown in a large pot (it can get up to 5 ft tall) and indoors if you’re not in that nice warm weather zone. Just make sure not to take it outside until all chances of frost are long gone.

Put em in the ground
  • Plant the rhizome shallowly
  • Rich soil
  • Full sun
  • Moist, warm area
  • If planting in a pot:
    • Start rhizome in a small pot.
    • Put container in a plastic bag (for creating a mini greenhouse).
    • Put in a very warm area (85º or a bit warmer preferably – use a heating pad or plant grow lamp if needed).

Care

  • If you started in a pot, once they are sprouted, you can remove them from their plastic greenhouse but keep the soil moist and the temperature at least 77º.
  • Feel free to mist the leaves once in awhile to increase humidity.
  • Once they’re at least 6 inches tall, you’ll be fine with at least 68º room temperatures.

Harvest

  • It will take about 7-10 months before it’s harvest time.
  • Good rule of thumb: count back 10 months from you first frost in the fall, and start your plant indoors at that time.
  • Once the stem and leaves are brown and dry, you can finally harvest!
  • Keep in the fridge in an airtight container for 6 months, or in the freezer for longer.