Turmeric – Fresh to Dry in 3 Steps

Every time I post a picture on my Facebook page of Turmeric, it has attracted heaps of interest.    It’s Turmeric harvest season in my backyard patch right now, and last weekend I dug over six kilos of the bright rhizomes, and I have been spending a great deal of time since turning it into a rich orange aromatic powder.

TurmericVarietiesHunterBackyardVeggieGrowers

 

When I mentioned on my Facebook page that I was planning to dry some Turmeric for the very first time, a number of people wanted to know how I intended to do it, so after successfully filling a number of containers with the colourful spice I can now share how I dried my Turmeric.

 

How to Dry Turmeric 

1. Boiling the rhizomes

TurmericRhizomeHunterBackyardVeggieGrowersCleaning:  Using a scrubbing brush clean off all of the soil and any lose skin from the rhizomes.  You will need to separate the rhizome into smaller bits as you scrub.  It snaps apart quite easily so it’s not a problem.  Breaking it apart will ensure that you remove all of the soil that might be hidden in any tight crevices in the rhizomes.

TurmericCookingHunterBackyardVeggieGrowers

 

 

Cooking:  Place your rhizomes into a pot and cover with cold water, ensuring that there is around 2 cm of water covering it all.  Bring to the boil, and then simmer until you can easily push a skewer through the rhizome.  Be careful not to overcook them because it will draw out to much goodness and colour from the rhizomes into the water.  25-30 minutes did the trick when I cooked them.  Cooking the rhizomes breaks down the fibres, and evens up the colour.

2. Baking

Preparation for drying:  When cooked, drain and allow to cool.  When they are cool enough to handle, cut into even slices around 3  mm thick.  Some I sliced length-ways, others across the rhizome.  Spread the sliced Turmeric evenly onto a tray lined with baking paper.  I used foil for some batches, but I soon learnt that baking paper is easier to handle.  They can stick to foil, but didn’t stick to paper.

TurmericDryingHunterBackyardVeggieGrowersOven drying:  Place the tray into a pre-heated oven that is set to 180 degrees for one and a half to two hours.  Turn them after 30 minutes and check again every 20 minutes to make sure that they don’t burn.   I dried them until the pieces would easily ‘snap’ when I tried to bend them.  If they were still slightly flexible, they still had too much moisture content and I put them back.  At the latter stages of drying I removed the smaller bits that were dry enough with a pair of tongs, and put the big bits back into the oven. When they are dry, they don’t look very promising, they are shriveled, dark in colour.  When I did the first batch I thought I had ruined the lot.   But I was soon proven wrong.

3. Blitzing

TurmericSiftingHunterBackyardVeggieGrowersProcessing:  I used the Thermomix to blitz them in batches for one minute at full speed.  Then I poured about half a cup into a sieve and sifted it onto a plate.   I used the back of a spoon to push it through a bit. The larger bits went back into the Thermomix for a second and later a third whizzing to break them down even further.  I continued this process until the whole batch was sifted into a nice orange pile of real fresh, home grown, colourful Turmeric that has a fantastic earthy aroma.

Storage:  Place into an airtight container in the spice cupboard ready to use liberally as needed.

Lessons I learnt

The oven is a great way to dry Turmeric, but I reckon that a proper dehydrator will do a better job.  It would reduce the chance of burning the Turmeric and also the colour of the final product would be brighter.  Also, it can burn easily if you are not careful in the latter stages of drying. I managed to lose a whole batch so I would recommend if it’s your first attempt that you do a small batch first, to gain some experience before you get really serious.  Do yourself a favour as you follow this process, wear some gloves if you don’t want yellow fingers.  Also, wipe any spills up quickly before they stain your bench top!TurmericProcessingHunterBackyardVeggieGrowers

It was quite a process to turn my Turmeric rhizomes into powder and I now have 700 g of the delightful spice.  I now know how to do it, and I’ll definitely be doing it all over again. Have a go at it and share how you went, I dare you to!

Turmeric Varieties

TurmericFlowerHunterBackyardVeggieGrowers

I started to grow Turmeric two years ago and now I grow two different types, a yellow rhizome called ‘Aromatica’ and an orange rhizome called ‘Longa’.  Over the past couple of years Turmeric has become one of the celebrated spices because of the many health benefits it can provide.  Every day I consume Turmeric in some form.  I really love using Turmeric in the food I cook and I use it in curries or soups and every day I have been having a hot golden milk drink.  It adds colour into any dish, it is aromatic and it is really good for you.

From recent reading that I have done, the Longa variety has higher content of the important ingredient ‘Curcurmin’ which is consumed for its health benefits.   The main reason I consume it is as an anti-inflammatory and I can confidently say that it works for me.  You had better do your own research to see if it is something you would want to use.

TurmericPlantHunterBackyardVeggieGrowers

My next blog will let you know how easy Turmeric is to grow in your garden.  It really does taste quite fantastic – earthy is the best way I can describe it

 

 

14 thoughts on “Turmeric – Fresh to Dry in 3 Steps

  1. Oh dear, I dried some Turmeric but I didn’t blanch it first, just cleaned and then dehydrated it, will it still be o.k. to blitz and use?….Thanks.

    1. Susan, my concern would be that there may be bacteria or harmful bugs on the tubers that you dried. The cooking process also kills the bacteria an any harmful bugs.

  2. Just wondering how much your tumeric dies off in winter? The leaves on my plant are completely yellow and dry. I only have two plants in a pot so i’m not sure if it is going dormant over winter or if it has died completely.

    1. Hi Jack

      They will die back completely here in the Hunter region. This time of year in the cold months the leaves will be quite yellow or completely dead. You can dig them up or leave them in for another season.

  3. I bought a dehydrator to dry my turmeric but I went back to using the oven. I just put it in at 170 and turned off the oven and let it dry overnight after adding black pepper to the discs. I leave some dried discs in a jar as well and use it to make a turmeric tea

  4. Could someone point me in the direction of a place online to purchase the rhizomes please.

    I am in Taree.

    And how/where do I grow it, please.

    Annie

    1. Hi Annie, the best rhizomes I found were at the local growers market. I have seen it in an organic veggie shop as well. Green Harvest (QLD) has them.

    2. I bought a finger of turmeric from the local vegetable shop and planted that. That was 20 years ago and it’s still going strong. If you can’t purchase any locally I will be happy to post you a bit.

  5. Hi there,
    Kindly advise how to process an instant turmeric tea?
    I tried to make some turmeric powder using hi-speed disintegrator but the powder produced doesn’t dissolve fully even in hot water.- thanks in advance

  6. Thanks for the great instructions! I have seen many post where they do not boil the turmeric before because it looses a lot of the good stuff. Even rinsing is done very quickly. Now I am confused 😉 Won’t the bacteria die off in the heating process, so that you don’t need to boil it? Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *