Turmeric: How to grow, harvest, use and store

I've been digging up lots of turmeric from my food forest and kitchen garden lately. I use it every day and love it fresh - in juices, grated in salad, but also in curries, egg dishes, teas, soups and rice. Fresh and raw is best though - it's more potent that way.

I've made a 8 minute film about how I grow, harvest, use and store turmeric. The link is here. I hope you enjoy it.

Turmeric is a member of the ginger family and has been used in India for over 2500 years. Well known as the orange/yellow colour in curries, and more recently in the popular golden mylk, it is a medicinal powerhouse with a great health benefits. 

It is a superb natural cold and cough remedy with its antibacterial and anti-viral qualities.  The anti-inflammatory action of its active ingredient, curcumin, helps to relieve chest congestion.

Turmeric is a fabulously easy plant to grow in warmer climates and it has so many beneficial uses.

Plant a segment of turmeric when the soil begins to warm, and nine months later, when the tops die back, dig for the abundant rhizomes. One of my plants yielded 5 kg last year!

5 kgs from one piece of turmeric in just 2 years.

In courtyards, balconies and courtyards, you can grow it in big pots and grow bags. It certainly does prefer a warm humid climate, but there are niches you can find or create to extend it's range somewhat.

Thanks to Bernie, a Turmeric farmer (www.selfhelpretreat.com.au) for writing and saying there are three key forms of turmeric: 

  1. LONGA: deeply orange and contains lots of curcumin - the one to grow and use for medicine.
  2. AROMATICA: yellow, the one in my film, mostly for culinary purposes.
  3. NATIVE: Australia has a native turmeric in North Queensland. Polynesia has a black turmeric, and Hawaii folk has white turmeric. 
Remember too that your body can only absorb curcumin when you add some pepper and oil too. This is why golden milk is popular, but also why it works in curries.

(Please note, it is recommended that people on blood thinners should not consume turmeric).

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