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The many delights of Fresh Turmeric

August 1, 2014 | Cooking, Preserving | 18 comments | Author:


Recently we were lucky enough to score some of the amazing, earthy sunshine that are organic turmeric rhizomes.

So much goodness in this plant! But like many harvests, when it rains it pours. Here’s what we did with ours. 



Turmeric (Curcuma domestica syn. Curcuma longa) is a rhizomious, herbaceous perennial that hails from the same plant family as ginger.

The rhizomes are harvested around this time of year and can be used fresh, dried or powdered.

Apart from being delicious, turmeric is also a powerful medicine, and is used to treat things like inflammation, colds and flu, digestion problems, diabetes and certain types of cancer.

In short, if you can get hold of some, get it into you. Any which way.

Fresh turmeric can be used in all sorts of ways – mostly we just grate and add ours (ok I guess you could call it hiding) in soups and stews for added all-round family health.

Fresh turmeric grated over scrambled eggs is also, quite simply, the bomb.

Once we’ve had a blitz of turmeric, we dry the rest of it in slivers.





This precious dried resource stays in slivers, rather than getting pounded to a powder, which you could also do.

In it’s slivered, dried form, my reasoning is that it’s less exposed to air than as a powder, and will therefore retain more of its healthful benefits for longer.

From here on in, these slivers will be added to everything from water kefir brews to summer kombucha blends, and also, of course, to pickles and sauerkrauts.

And to things like curries, of course, for which purpose we would grind a little to a powder, as needed.

Who doesn’t want a jar of delicious medicinal sunshine in the cupboard? Yes please.


We sourced this turmeric from the lovely folk at Old Mill Road in Moruya, NSW. If you’re quick, they might sell you some.

Or get hold of a rhizome or two and grow your own: Green Harvest sell it, or contact your local seedsavers network and see who’s got some to share.

What’s your all-time favourite thing to do with turmeric? We’d love to hear.


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  • tybalt August 1, 2014 at 6:29 am | Reply

    I am always a bit hesitant to add it to cultures as I thought it might inhibit bacteria grows. It certainly sounds like I don´t need to worry. As for storgage of the dried pieces – I would use a dark glass, exposure to sunlight might harm its ingredients (but its not as pretty ;)

    Sadly its not winter hardy and one of the few things that is absolutely not available organic here in germany yet :/ need a wintergarden asap…

    1. Kirsten August 1, 2014 at 8:59 am | Reply

      yeah we add it to the second ferment of WK + kombucha so it doesnt interfere with the scobies and their bacteria. I’ve heard of it growing well in a greenhouse in england, so maybe indoors?

  • Fay August 1, 2014 at 6:35 am | Reply

    It’s wonderful grated into a smoothie (only a teaspoon though) and/or in my morning grapefruit juice. I’ve got a wonderful harvest this year along with ginger, galangal and true arrowroot, all growing under a living mulch of native violet.

  • This Sydney Life August 1, 2014 at 8:04 am | Reply

    Fab’ post! Thanks for the idea to dehydrate in slivers… Will definitely keep an eye out at Eveleigh tomorrow…

  • Le Femme Farmer August 1, 2014 at 8:15 am | Reply

    We use the powdered form on popcorn with salt and olive oil. You have inspired me to figure out if I can grow it in the Pacific Northwest USA! Those tubers are lovely.

    1. Kirsten August 1, 2014 at 8:17 am | Reply

      Popcorn and Tumeric? What a way to combine two fave things!

  • The Zero-Waste Chef August 1, 2014 at 8:40 am | Reply

    This looks fantastic! I’m using a solar dehydrator right now and I know what to put in it next :)

  • positive3negative August 1, 2014 at 10:02 am | Reply

    Yum. And thanks for the reminder that mine needs to be lifted. I’ve got it in the garden but it’s also great in pots, particularly in cooler climates where I’ve successfully created a microclimate by using a black pot (heat retention) placed against a sun-catching wall or inside (when it’s very cold) at a sun catching window. Added bonus. It makes a very nice looking indoor plant.

  • Bits Out the Back.. August 1, 2014 at 11:45 am | Reply

    We do the same with ours, cut fine & dehydrated for use later..
    Need to harvest some of our Madras today if I get the time..

  • snappygeckopeedy August 1, 2014 at 1:09 pm | Reply

    There seem to be two different species getting around under the name turmeric.
    The one in the pics that you’re drying and another one the true turmeric (C.longa) which has a deeper orange colour in the rhizome.
    The lighter coloured one , which is still very good to use as turmeric is possibly another species ( C.zeodaria, C.mangga, C.amada or something similar) , but I don’t know enough about them to be 100% sure.
    It’s a more vigorous grower than the orange one, has a slightly more pronounced pleating of the leaves which are also slightly larger which is more obvious when the two plants are grown next to one another.

    One of my favourite thing to do with fresh turmeric is to
    make ‘Kunir Asem’, a Javanese tonic drink (traditionally for women)

    Kunir Asem
    Fresh grated or better still, ground turmeric -several rhizomes
    Palm sugar- 1/2 cup
    Tamarind pulp- a couple of tablespoons
    Boil in water , strain and drink small cups of it hot or cold as a tonic.
    Make it strong sour/sweet and dilute if needed.
    I like fresh ground black pepper in it too.

    Also, I reckon fresh turmeric is essential to make Indonesian spice pastes…
    Much better than dried… The fresh turmeric flavour is needed.

    1. Kirsten August 1, 2014 at 2:18 pm | Reply

      yummo! Thanks Speedy x

  • Urban permaculturist August 1, 2014 at 1:14 pm | Reply

    Juice it, spread it on toast (ground turmeric that is), a dash in quick stir fry with tempeh, and of course in curries and stews and soups.

  • katiecrackernuts August 5, 2014 at 8:01 am | Reply

    Thank you so much. I have an excess as well and have shared with the lovely Like Minds Avoca, where there have been ayurverdic cooking classes and the class participants were looking to grow their own. I have so much more though and will try it over scrambled eggs and try this means of preserving them. Thank you.

  • James August 5, 2014 at 2:07 pm | Reply

    Nice one!

    We’ve also had a huge haul, out of our garden:

    I’m definitely going to give the drying thing a go :-)


    1. Kirsten August 5, 2014 at 2:12 pm | Reply

      Nice one James! Jeez you got a lot.

  • Nicole August 6, 2014 at 4:39 pm | Reply

    hot turmeric milk (cow or almond) with ground pepper

  • Ponny August 7, 2014 at 8:57 am | Reply

    I managed to get hold of a fair bit of fresh turmeric. What I didn’t use straight away or give away I froze. I checked many websites and not many had anything on whether it’s ok to freeze. I’m giving it a go and just take a little bit out and grate it as I need it. Does anyone have any ideas/insights into freezing turmeric?

  • Drying tumeric and lemon « Lewisham House August 17, 2014 at 9:25 am | Reply

    […] we’ve frozen, and a lot is stored in our cool cupboard. Following some inspiration from Milkwood, I also decided to dry some, to see how well that would […]


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