Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Turmeric

We have a vegetable garden (but then you know that already if you have read my older posts) which my Father puts a lot of love and effort to nurture. Among the many fruits of Dad's labor of love, is turmeric. He had planted several plants and when it was time to harvest, we had a good haul. It would be enough to last us a few months.

In India, turmeric is used for a lot of things. But the most common use of turmeric (or haldi as it is called) is in cooking. It gives Indian food its delightful golden color. This is especially true in the case of Indian curries. It is also very good for maintaining proper digestion.

Buying ground turmeric can be tricky business; especially if one buys it in loose form (not commercially packaged). Truth be told, adulteration can also happen even in packaged products from unscrupulous companies. So we make our own haldi or turmeric powder.

The first step is to harvest the turmeric. It is akin to ginger as the turmeric forms under the soil with the roots -- its rhizomes. The rhizomes are harvested annually. This year we got good yield.

Raw Turmeric (rhizomes)


To be able to make our own turmeric powder, we needed to boil the raw turmeric. Although raw turmeric can be dried and powdered, the quality of the powder is not as good as when it has been boiled first.

We put the raw turmeric in a large copper pot and put it atop a large outdoor wood stove to boil a large batch at a time. The stove is actually a type of water heater... but it suited our purpose.

Turmeric Being Boiled

After boiling the turmeric, the water was drained and we put them in a large tokri or a woven basket that looks more like a woven wooden bowl.

Boiled Turmeric (Drained)
Boiled Turmeric in a Tokri

After the water has been drained, the turmeric was cut if the rhizome wass too big. This is to allow it to dry well. If it is left whole, it may appear dry on the outside but remain moist inside. 
Turmeric Cut (notice the lovely color)
Cut Turmeric

Bright Yellow Turmeric

After all the big pieces had been cut (and the teeny ones left as they were as they will dry up just fine). The turmeric was then sun-dried.
Turmeric left out in the sun to dry
After a few days, the rich yellow will turn into a dull brown as the turmeric shrinks and dries.
Turmeric Drying in the Sun

Turmeric being dried


After the turmeric is completely dry (and shrinks to about half the volume that it was), it will be powdered. 


Powdered Turmeric






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