Growing Turmeric — with Recipes

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Fresh turmeric has a pleasant, ginger-like aroma, with a ginger-and-carrot taste.

It is loaded with many healthy nutrients such as protein, dietary fiber, niacin, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, sodium, potassium, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and zinc.

Turmeric is a tropical plant — it needs warmth to thrive. It is propagated via rhizomes. After planting, it may take weeks before you see a shoot come up. If you want to make sure that a laggard rhizome is still alive, dig it up and examine for erupting buds or tufts of root hairs. A viable rhizome will also be fairly firm to the touch — not mushy. It is fairly easy to grow, with a bit of patience !

Fresh rhizomes are available online. You can also check your local grocery store or farmers market. To sprout a fresh turmeric rhizome, bury the root about an inch deep in quality potting soil, in a suitably large pot. No need to worry which side should face up, the rhizome will figure that out and point the shoots in the right direction. Keep the potting soil damp (not sopping wet) and in a warm environment. Choose a container that is at least 12 inches across and the same in depth to give the roots room to grow.

You can also plant several rhizomes together in one pot and transplant them later to their own individual pots once you see that they’ve sprouted.

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Outdoors, turmeric plants prefer warmth and rich, well drained soil. Partial shade is ideal. Water moderately. Plant in the spring, and in the fall, when the leaves wither away from the cold, you will have rhizomes to dig up.

Here are two recipes — one topical and the other gustatory — that highlight the healing properties of turmeric.

Turmeric Ointment (salve)

This soothing ointment will help heal burns, abrasions, skin rashes, insect bites or other inflamed skin issues. Apply a thin layer of the ointment and cover the area with gauze. Turmeric will stain clothing and bed linens, so be sure to secure the gauze with tape.

One tablespoon ground turmeric
Two tablespoons boiling water
Two tablespoons softened coconut oil (slightly melted)

Place turmeric in a glass or ceramic bowl. Stir in boiling water, add the oil, blending well. Store unused portion covered in the refrigerator for up to six weeks.

Golden Broth (soup)

Excellent for colds, the flu, stomach virus and similar conditions.

1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup diced bell pepper
1/2 cup fresh diced tomato (use canned if fresh is not available)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
8 cups of water

In a stock pot over medium heat, sautée vegetables in butter for 4 minutes. Stir in the turmeric, pour in the water and bring to a simmer. Cook for another 15 minutes, cover and remove from heat. For broth, strain out the vegetables; for soup, leave the vegetables in.

— Azul & Meadow Walker

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