Turmeric is an ancient spice, a native of South East Asia, used from antiquity as dye and a condiment. In many languages turmeric is simply named as “yellow root”.
Turmeric is the rhizome of a ginger-like plant. It is usually available ground, as a bright yellow, fine powder. The whole turmeric is a tuberous rhizome, with a rough, segmented skin. The rhizome is yellowish-brown with a dull orange interior that looks bright yellow when powdered. The harvest starts when the stems begin to fade, about ten months after planting. The rhizomes are carefully dug, cured and prepared for the market by being boiled, cleaned, dried in the sun for about ten days, and polished. During the curing process the product loses about three quarters of its original weight. Cured turmeric is sorted into ‘fingers’, ‘rounds’, and ‘splits’.
Turmeric is available whole, cracked and ground.