Organic Turmeric Powder
What is Organic Turmeric Powder
Organic Turmeric Powder (pronounced "tur-mer-ick"), Curcuma longa, is also called pure Turmeric powder, organic Turmeric, or organic curcumin powder.
Organic Turmeric Powder has an essential oil of 1.0% - 6.9% and a minimum of 3% curcumin.
Turmeric is a deciduous, herbaceous perennial with thick, fleshy, branched rhizomes (which are the elongated horizontal subterranean plant stems that produce roots below and shoots above). Native to tropical South Asia, it is one of the key ingredients in numerous Asian dishes.
Turmeric powder is ground from the plant's rhizome. The rhizomes mature beneath the foliage in the ground. Turmeric's rhizome is tuberous with a rough yellowish brown skin, while the interior is a yellowish orange color.
What does Organic Turmeric Powder Taste Like
Mildly sour and bitter, slightly pungent, warm and musky.
How do You Use Organic Turmeric Powder
Turmeric is a central ingredient in Masalas, curry powders and pastes. In India, Turmeric helps in digesting the complex carbohydrates found in most dishes. In Indian and southeast Asian cooking Turmeric is an important seasoning used to add flavor and color to curries of all kinds but especially vegetable curries, desserts, fried fish, lentils, pickles, rice, soup and vegetables like cauliflower and potatoes.
In Indonesian, Malaysian and Thai cooking, Turmeric is added to yellow and red curries, laksas (a spicy noodle soup), stews, yellow rice (nasi kuning) and vegetable-based dishes.
Many Persian dishes use Turmeric as a starter ingredient and when combined with dried limes is used to flavor a Middle Eastern stew of meat, lentils, onions, and tomatoes that is served over rice. In Lebanon it is used to color Sfouf cake. In South Africa, Turmeric gives boiled white rice a rich, golden color.
In the US, Turmeric is often used commercially in baked goods, biscuits, canned beverages, cake icings, cereals, dairy products, ice cream, mustard, orange juice, sauces, yellow cakes and yogurt.
Some of our favorite recipes with Turmeric include Rajma, Moroccan Soup, and Pineapple Sauerkraut.
Bright yellow Turmeric both looks and tastes fantastic on cauliflower and potatoes and is instrumental in giving the traditional cauliflower and potato curry (aloo gobi) its distinctive appeal. It adds richness to both dill and bread-and-butter pickles. Add Turmeric to marinades for chicken or fish, or mix with yogurt, ginger, and some lime juice for a savory dipping sauce for spicy foods. Use Turmeric with beans, eggs, meat, rice and spinach.
Turmeric works well in combination with other herbs and spices like bay leaves, cilantro, clove, coconut, coriander, cumin, curry leaves, dill, fennel seed, galangal, ginger, lemongrass, mustard seeds, nutmeg, paprika and pepper.
What is a Substitute for Turmeric Powder
When substituting for color, you can use Saffron or Annatto in place of Turmeric. Keep in mind both spices are more red than yellow. If you want a spice with a similar earthy flavor, try Cumin, but keep in mind that cumin is a very aromatic, strong-tasting spice so use it sparingly.
History of Turmeric Powder
Turmeric has been used as a culinary spice and in some religious ceremonies and dates back more than 3,500 years to the Vedic culture in India1. Turmeric is written about in Sanskrit medical treatises as well as the ancient Ayurvedic and Unani systems of medicine2. Ayurvedic medicine, also called Ayurveda, is one of the world's oldest holistic or whole-body healing systems. It was developed more than 3,000 years ago in India and is centered on the belief that one’s health and wellness depends on the delicate balance between the body, mind and spirit.
Traces of garlic, ginger, and turmeric have been found in the residue in pots from archaeological digs near New Delhi (the capital city of India) dating back to 2500 BC3. During India’s Vedic period (1500 - 500 BC) turmeric was referred to the golden spice or the spice of life4. During this period Sun Gods were a significant part of worship and spiritual rituals. Turmeric’s vibrant color was associated with the color of the sun and thus rituals around sun worship often incorporated the rhizome. Turmeric was also common in fertility and spiritual purification rituals during this period.
The spice routes from Southern Asia to the Mediterranean has been well-documented since the Roman era (31 BC - 476 AD), but there is growing evidence of spice trade between South Asia and the Eastern Mediterranean existing as far back as the Bronze Age (3300 BC to 1200 BC). Micro remains and proteins of turmeric preserved in the calcified dental plaque from the remains of 16 individuals discovered at the site of Tel Megiddo and the Early Iron Age (1200 BC - 600 BC) site of Tel Erani in present-day Israel show the earliest direct evidence to date of banana, soy, and turmeric outside of South and East Asia5.
Turmeric was transported by sea routes to China and was described in writings dating back to the Tang dynasty (618-907 AD). In the eighth century Turmeric was introduced to East Africa via overland routes controlled by Bedouin, Berber, and Jewish traders. Marco Polo, traveling extensively along the Silk Road between 1271 and 1295, wrote about turmeric growing not only in China but also along India’s Malabar Coast and on Sumatra (one of the islands of western Indonesia)6.
An Indian pickle recipe listed turmeric as an ingredient in Hannah Glasse's cookbook from 1747, The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy (the best-selling recipe book in England in that century). A later edition of this book calls for turmeric in a recipe for Indian curry7.
More recently Americans have become quite interested in turmeric and its reported potential health benefits, attributing to the surge in popularity of Golden Milk all across the United States.
A perennial herb with underground rhizomes, Turmeric thrives in loamy or alluvial fertile (along river and coastlines), well-drained soil, with a frost-free climate8. Turmeric crops typically need an additional 15-20 irrigations in heavy soils and 35-40 in light soils. Moisture stress affects the growth and development of the plant especially during the rhizome bulking stage. Drip irrigation is proved to be ideal for Turmeric and the water requirement is precisely estimated9. Light shade is best while excessive shade tends to reduce the yield.
New plantings are reseeded from selected rhizomes that were harvested from the previous growing season10. Depending on the cultivar sowing takes place between April and August with seed rhizomes that are either whole or split into two pieces, each having one bud. Within 15 days of sowing, and under irrigated conditions, the bud on the seed rhizome sends an upward shoot. Every other week new leaves appear with each larger than the previous11. The plant reaches a height of 3 feet or more. If left unattended the plant produces tall, white, and sometimes pink flower spikes. Flowering begins in September and is an unwanted feature as the flowers retard the growth and quality of the rhizomes. Flowers should be removed as they appear. The roots arise from the rhizome with the mother rhizome sending out numerous long lateral branches which in turn produce additional branches, forming a cluster of corm and fingers within the top 6-8" of soil. Under managed growing conditions three to four hoeings and weedings are done at intervals. The crop is ready for harvesting 8-10 months after sowing once the lower leaves begin start turning yellow and the top shoots dry out and start to fall over12.
During harvesting the land is ploughed and then the rhizomes are collected. Harvested rhizomes are cleaned of mud and other debris. Fingers are separated from mother rhizomes and some rhizomes are set aside for future plantings. Separated turmeric rhizomes undergo multiple post-harvest processes including curing, drying, polishing, and milling. The curing of turmeric should be done within 2-3 days of harvesting. The fingers and mother rhizomes are cured separately. Curing involves the boiling of the rhizomes in fresh water for about forty-five minutes to an hour until they become soft where they are then removed from the water and drained. At this stage the cured fingers/mother rhizomes would traditionally be spread on bamboo mats or on a cement pad for drying in the sun. It takes 10-15 days for the rhizomes to become completely dry. Today rhizomes are more likely to be mechanically dried for quicker processing. Dried turmeric has an inconsistent surface appearance with scales and root bits. The outer color is dull. Smoothening and polishing the outer surface by manual or mechanical rubbing improve the appearance. Manual polishing consists of rubbing the dried turmeric fingers on a hard surface. Mechanical polishing is done in a rotating metal mesh drum. Polishing is effected by abrasion of the rhizomes against the outer mesh walls as well as by mutual rubbing against each other as they roll inside the drum13.
The world’s leading commercial producers of turmeric in 2020 were India (63% of the world's total exports), Vietnam (5.4%), Myanmar (5.3%), Indonesia (2.5%), and China (2.0%)14. India consumes nearly 80% of all the turmeric grown in the world.
Regions and Grades of Turmeric
In India turmeric is primarily grown in two regions -- Chennai (pronounced "chuh-nai" formerly known as Madras) in southeastern India and Alleppey (pronounced "uh-lay-pee) located in the farthest reaches of southwestern India. Curcumin gives the rhizome its orangish-yellow coloring and this color level is also an indication of its quality. Lower quality turmeric is more brownish in color. Chennai grown Turmeric (Madras) has up to 2.0% essential oil with up to 2.0% curcumin and is preferred by the British and Middle Eastern markets for its more intense, brighter, and lighter yellow color. Alleppey grown Turmeric has 3.5% to 5.5% essential oil with 3.0% to 7.0% curcumin and is predominantly imported by the United States, where users prefer it as a spice and a food colorant15.
Grading is a critical step in the processing of turmeric as higher quality grades command greater prices. Turmeric grading is done at three levels - bulbs, splits, and fingers. Bulbs are from the central mother rhizomes, which are ovate in shape and are of shorter length and having larger diameter than the fingers. Splits are broken bulbs that were damaged during harvesting. Fingers are lateral branches or secondary rhizomes from the mother rhizomes, their size varies from 1" to 3" in length and are about 1/2" in diameter16. The "splits and bulbs" grade tend to be less expensive and of a lower quality (less flavor, color and volatile oil) are more fibrous and difficult to grind.
Higher quality Turmeric "Fingers" are appendages that are separated from the main mother rhizome and then broken into 1" to 3" lengths." The "fingers" possess a greater curcumin content and more flavor because of their higher volatile oil, which provides a superior quality turmeric for grinding.
Where is Our Organic Turmeric From
|Also Called||Pure Turmeric powder, organic Turmeric, or organic curcumin powder|
|Recommended Uses||Add to curries, desserts, lentils, marinades, noodles, pickles, rice, soup. stews, or vegetable dishes|
|Flavor Profile||Mildly sour and bitter, slightly pungent, warm and musky|
|Oil Content||1% - 6.9%|
|Botanical Name||Curcuma longa|
|Cuisine||Africa, Indian, Latin American, Mexican and Vietnamese|
|How To Store||Airtight container in a cool, dark place|
|Shelf Life||6-12 months|
|Country of Origin||India|
|Dietary Preferences||Gluten Free, Non-GMO|
Hungry for More Information
1 Warrington, I. (2018). Horticultural Reviews, Volume 46 (1st ed.). Wiley.
2, 10 Benzie, I. F. F., & Wachtel-Galor, S. (2011). Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects, Second Edition (Oxidative Stress and Disease Book 28) (2nd ed.). CRC Press.
3, 7 Avey, T. (2015, March 9). History of Turmeric | The History Kitchen. PBS Food. Retrieved January 30, 2022.
4 Ravindran, P. N., Babu, N. K., & Sivaraman, K. (2007). Turmeric: The genus Curcuma (Medicinal and Aromatic Plants - Industrial Profiles)(1st ed.). CRC Press.
5 Scott, A., Power, R. C., Altmann-Wendling, V., Artzy, M., Martin, M. A. S., Eisenmann, S., Hagan, R., Salazar-García, D. C., Salmon, Y., Yegorov, D., Milevski, I., Finkelstein, I., Stockhammer, P. W., & Warinner, C. (2020). Exotic foods reveal contact between South Asia and the Near East during the second millennium BCE. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118(2), e2014956117.
6 Nabhan, G. P. (2020). Cumin, Camels, and Caravans. Amsterdam University Press.
8 Turmeric growing information. (n.d.). Green Harvest. Retrieved January 30, 2022.
9 HOW MUCH WATER DOES MY CROP NEED? Part 9. Turmeric. (2020, February 11). Jain Irrigation Systems. Retrieved March 2, 2022.
11, 12 Ilyas, M. (1978). The Spices of India-II. Economic Botany, 32(3), 238–263.
13, 15 Tumeric . (n.d.). Tamil Nadu Agricultural University. Retrieved January 31, 2022.
14 Dordea, C. (2020). Turmeric (curcuma) (HS: 091030) Product Trade, Exporters and Importers | OEC. OEC - The Observatory of Economic Complexity. Retrieved February 1, 2022.
16 Chougala, M. R., & Ramachandra, A. C. (2021). Turmeric Grading on Principle Characteristics. IJSRD, 8(10), 398–402.
Serving Size1 tsp
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*