In Indian culture, the importance of turmeric goes far beyond medicine. The dark orange colour of the root and the bright yellow colour of the ground powder holds immense symbolic significance. Some uses of turmeric in Hindu culture are as below:
- Hindus adorn their gods with turmeric paste, sandalwood, and vermilion.
- The use of turmeric in making of religious arts such as the swastika, Om, etc.
- On Makar Sankranti Day, the turmeric plant is tied around the vessel used in making of the sweet Pongal.
- Haldi ceremony is an essential wedding ritual in Indian marriage ceremony. It is done for the beautification of the bride.
- Turmeric is used to apply the auspicious tilak on the forehead.
What is Turmeric?
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a golden spice with a warm, bitter taste and a slight mustard aroma. It is also known as Indian saffron due to its yellow colour and has a long history of medicinal as well as culinary uses in India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand, and many other Asian countries.
How to grow turmeric at home
Because of excessive commercialization, most turmeric products are adulterated or sold in inferior quality, which is why it’s a clever idea to grow your own. For this, you don’t need much, just a place with part sun, a few pots, and this mini-guide on Growing Turmeric.
You can grow this plant indoors, near a bright window, porch, patio, or balcony.
Outdoors, you can plant it in your garden beds in a shady spot or under the shrubs.to get a tropical look in your garden, along with flowers that come in white, red, pink, yellow, and red-maroon colors!
Plant turmeric in loamy soil that is rich in organic matter. Make a mix of 70% quality garden soil and 30% compost or manure for the best growth. Adding organic content like aged cow manure to the growing medium will boost the development of the plant.
Soil pH— Slightly acidic, neutral to slightly alkaline soil
Where to Find the Rhizome or Turmeric Plant?
Turmeric grows from the rhizomes like ginger. The easiest way to find them is to search for fresh turmeric rhizomes in organic food stores.
Best Pot Size for Turmeric Plant
For growing turmeric in pots, choose a large pot as this wonderful plant can easily exceed the height of 1 meter. The pot should be at least 10-14 inches deep and 12-18 inches wide so that the plant can spread itself freely. Plant 1 or 2 rhizomes in such a pot.
Being native to India, turmeric requires a warm climate with 8 to 10 months of frost-free growing. The more partial light it will get, the better it is for growth. Keep the plant safe from prolonged exposure to harsh afternoon sunlight.
The best season to plant turmeric is mid-summer for North India. The month of May is ideal.
Steps for planting
After you have got the rhizome, follow the steps below for planting:
- Break large rhizomes into small pieces, each one should have at least two or three buds.
- Fill a pot with rich organic soil that is pre-moistened and well-drained.
- Place it about 1 or 2 inches (4-5 cm) below the soil surface, with the buds facing up.
Keep the soil moist throughout the growing season and do not hesitate to mist the foliage in dry weather to increase the humidity level around the plant. You can also group it with other plants to create a microclimate. There should be proper drainage and no water stagnation.Reduce watering when the leaves begin to wilt and turn yellow due to temperature drop, and cut the plant back to the ground so that it can hibernate.
Turmeric Plant Care
Fertilize turmeric in pots every month with an all-purpose liquid fertilizer during the growing season. Dilute it to 1/4 of its strength. You can also use neemkhali.
The turmeric plant should not be pruned. It is sufficient if you remove dried leaves from time to time.
Pests and Diseases
The turmeric plant is not prone to any serious pest problems. However, red spider mites and scales hurt it.In diseases, it only suffers from rhizome rot and leaf spot. Rot appears when the plant is grown in waterlogged soil. Therefore, it is important to grow turmeric in well-drained soil with ample drainage holes in the bottom of the pot.
When growing turmeric in pots, it will take 8 to 10 months to mature. Harvesting is done once the leaves turn yellow and the stem starts to dry. Harvesting turmeric is not difficult, simply dig up the plant entirely, including the roots.
Cut the required amount and then replant the remaining part again to get a new plant growing. After you cut the rhizome, follow the steps below to process it:
- Boil the rhizomes.
- Carefully remove the skin from rhizomes.
- Place the bare rhizomes in a tray.
- Dry them by exposing them to sunlight.
- You can also use the rhizomes fresh in salad dressing or to make pickles.
When the rhizomes are dry, grind them and store your homemade organic fresh turmeric powder in an airtight container.
Turmeric Uses and Benefits
- Turmeric Provides Relief from Arthritic Pain
Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties have been instrumental in treating osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The antioxidant also destroys the free radicals in the body that damage the cells.
- Turmeric Is Good for Your Brain
Research has found that turmeric promotes repair in the stem cells of the brain – the same stem cells that can help in the recovery from neurodegenerative diseases like stroke and Alzheimer’s. Studies also suggest that curcumin may help to improve memory in Alzheimer’s patients.
- Turmeric Aids in Digestion
When consumed raw while suffering from a digestive problem, turmeric can help manage the condition. The major components of the spice stimulate the gallbladder to produce bile, instantly making the digestive system more efficient. It is also known to reduce symptoms of bloating and gas.
- Turmeric Has Healing Properties
Remember how turmeric used to be every grandmother’s pet suggestion to treat any cut, burn or infection? Its natural antiseptic and anti-bacterial properties make it an effective disinfectant. The powder can be sprinkled on the affected area to help it heal faster. Instead of turning to a pill, the next time you experience an upset stomach or heartburn, try this super spice instead.
- Turmeric & Diabetes
The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of curcumin have been found to delay the onset of Type 2 Diabetes in people with pre-diabetes. It further helps moderate insulin levels and boosts the effect of medications that treat diabetes. However, it is important to consult a health professional before combining it with strong medication.
- Turmeric Helps Boost Immunity
Lipopolysaccharide – a substance in turmeric with anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal agents helps stimulate the human immune system. Take a teaspoon of the spice powder in a glass of warm milk daily and you’ll see it work wonders as it reduces your chances of catching a flu.
Raw Turmeric Curry/ Haldiki Sabji
This curry is also called a health booster as it is full of turmeric and other spices, which have some very impressive healing properties.
Caution: For making this curry, use gloves while peeling and grating turmeric roots, as they tend to leave yellow stains on hands.
- 250 g fresh turmeric root (kacchi haldi)
- 2 medium tomato, diced
- 1 inch ginger peeled and sliced
- 4 large garlic cloves ,roughly chopped
- 2 medium onion , chopped
- 1/4 cup ghee or mustard oil
- salt to taste
- 2 tsp red chili powder (lalmirch powder)
- 1 tbsp coriander powder (dhaniya powder)
- 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
- 1 green chillies, chopped
- 1 teaspoons cumin seeds (jeera)
- 1 cup yogurt (dahi), (use dairy-free yogurt for vegan version)
- 4-5 tablespoons water, if needed
- Scrape fresh turmeric roots with a spoon to remove the skin.
- Now grate the turmeric roots.
- Set them aside.
Making Tomato Paste:
Add tomato, ginger, garlic to a blender, and blend to make a smooth paste. Tomato paste is ready. Keep it aside.
Making Spiced Yogurt:
Combine chili powder, coriander powder, garam masala powder, and yogurt in a deep bowl and whisk it well until there is no lump remain. Once whisked, keep it aside.
Making Onion Paste:
Add onion to a blender jar and blend well to make a smooth paste. Onion paste is ready. Keep it aside.
Frying Turmeric Root (Kacchi Haldi):
- Heat ghee in a pan over medium heat.
- Once hot, turn the heat to medium-low and fry the grated turmeric on medium heat till it turns golden brown.
- Drain the fried turmeric on a plate and set aside.
Making Haldiki Sabji (Turmeric Root Curry):
- Add cumin seeds to the same pan.
- Once the cumin seeds start to crackle, add onion paste.
- Sauté till onion paste is golden brown.
- Now, add tomato paste and mix well.
- Sauté for 2 mins and add green chilies.
- Let it cook till you see ghee on sides.
- Add whisked spiced yogurt and stir continuously for 3-4 minutes.
- Cover and cook on medium heat till the ghee separates. At this stage, you can add water if you want. (If you are adding water, let it come to a boil before adding roasted turmeric.)
- Add fried turmeric, salt and mix well.
- Cook on medium heat for 7-8 minutes or until you see ghee floating on the top.
- Turmeric curry is ready. Serve it hot with roti or pulao.