Turmeric is another perennial spice plant that belongs to the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. It is a rhizome, root-like subterranean stem of a plant. Renowned for its antiseptic properties, turmeric has been considered as a culinary as well as medicinal ingredient. It is also used as in cosmetics.  Turmeric has a deep golden colour and a very intense and bitter flavour. Known in the West as Indian saffron, turmeric is used both as a flavorant as well as a colorant and is extensively used ingredient in Asian cuisine.


Language Name Pronunciation
English Turmeric ˈtərmərik
Hindi हल्दी Haldee
Tamil மஞ்சள் Mañcaḷ
Arabic الكركم Alkarrakum
Spanish Cúrcuma  

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Available throughout the year.

How to select

Belonging to the same botanically family, turmeric and ginger may look similar to untrained eyes. Skin on turmeric has a slight yellow tinge and the flesh is orangish yellow in color. The skin of ginger is light brown and will bit of silvery sheen to it. Also turmeric smells less zesty than ginger.

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How to Store:

Fresh turmeric can be stored in refrigerator for up to 3 weeks if the skin is not peeled. Whereas turmeric powder should be stored in airtight containers in a cool, dark place away from sunlight. It will stay fresh up to six months.

Cooking Variants

Though whole turmeric is used in cooking, turmeric is widely used in powdered form. Whole turmeric is washed, boiled, dried and grounded to make turmeric powder.

Culinary Uses:

Turmeric has a very pungent and overpowering taste. A little goes a long way. Hence one should be very careful while using the spice. Turmeric is basically added in very Indian curry and gravy. Turmeric powder, coriander powder and red-chilli powder form three basic components in North Indian spice mixture.

  • Used in curries, chutneys and stews to bring warm flavor to them
  • Can be added to soups to bring color
  • Used for making curry powder
  • Add a pinch of turmeric powder to smoothies to bring out flavor
  • Turmeric paste mixed with spices is used as marinade for meat and fish
  • Freshly picked turmeric leaves are used for baking Patoleo, a sweet dish local to western coast of India
  • Used in the North-African spice mix, Raz el hanout and Iranian spice mix Advieh
  • Add a dash of turmeric to an omelette or scrambled eggs to enhance the colour and make it more appetizing
  • Whole turmeric is can be pickled like other vegetables
  • Turmeric is used in flavoured, herbal teas and the famous turmeric
  • Used as a coloring agent in lots of food products such as yellow-mustard, processed cheese, pop-corn etc.
  • For making healthy Golden Milk (Turmeric Tea), lightly spiced coconut or diary milk with turmeric, having a lot of anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties

Medicinal Uses

  • The medicinal component in turmeric is called Curcumin which has anti-septic and anti-inflammatory properties
  • Turmeric is widely used as a cosmetic in itself or else an active ingredient in may cosmetic products
  • It is used as an anti-venom against insect bites
  • Turmeric is also considered as a carminative
  • Recent researches have shown that use of turmeric can resist cancer
  • Turmeric is a strong anti-oxidant
  • Turmeric paste can be used to treat skin blemishes and marks


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    • DS Panicker says:

      Thank you Francis, I am glad that you found the blog post very helpful, thank you once again for your support. Cheers!

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