The first in our posts on ingredients is focused on turmeric.
Origins & Names
The name Turmeric derives from the Latin term ‘terra merita’ meaning meritorious earth which refers to the yellow and brown colour of ground turmeric. The botanical name for turmeric is curcuma longa and it belongs to the plant family zingiberaceae which translates to ginger. This family of plants include a wide collection of aromatic herbs and spices including ginger, turmeric and cardamom.
Geography & Cultivation
Turmeric is cultivated in warm humid regions around the world including southern Asia, south-east Asia and the Caribbean islands, hence its widespread use in global cuisine. Despite its cultivation and use in many countries of the world, India still accounts for an estimated 80% of global production.
In order to grow turmeric, roots need to be kept aside from previous harvest and broken into small pieces before being planted a small distance apart. The turmeric plant has dark green leaves which are protected by sheaths and grow up to a height of around 1 metre. The typical harvest time is around 8 to 9 months after the turmeric root has been planted.
Turmeric root (rhizome) before planting.
Turmeric plants around 5 months after planting.
Young turmeric plant and root after 5 months of growth.
Food & Medicinal Uses