One of the most exciting parts of growing the beautiful ‘Golden Goddess’ Turmeric, is harvesting it!
Because turmeric root is the useful part, seeing your eventual rhizome harvest after 12 months of waiting, is very much like an ‘unboxing’.
Then of course, you need to process and preserve your turmeric.
My guess is, you already know about the amazing benefits of turmeric.
So what I’m focussing on in today’s blog is processing and preserving the rhizomes in two ways. These are not the only ways.
Pregnant or nursing mothers, children, diabetics or anyone with existing health conditions or allergies, should consult their health professional’s advice before consuming fresh or preserved turmeric.
Growing, harvesting, preserving and using your turmeric harvest is so satisfying. I highly recommend it. I hope you enjoy using your powder and paste for the many recipes and drinks these lovely turmeric products make possible 🌸
Quick Background: Followers of my Instagram Vintagetrishgarden know that I started my little turmeric ‘plantation’ in November 2017 with one 3cm rhizome bought from an organic providore. Since then, I replanted my entire harvest of rhizomes in June 2018, to overwinter, in-situ. The turmeric broke ground in November 2018, and this May 2019, I harvested 621 gram of turmeric. If I were to buy fresh turmeric at current prices in my area it would cost $24.69 per kilo, and that is not organic–mine is. I’ve returned 300g of rhizomes to the little 1 metre x 40cm strip ‘plantation’ for this growing season, and am processing 321gram in the following ways. Next harvest – May 2020.
How I decided to preserve this turmeric harvest
- Turmeric Powder for pantry storage
- Fresh Turmeric Paste divided into refrigerated and frozen portions
Uses: Curry pastes, Soups, Smoothies, Teas, Golden milk and much more
Preparation after Harvest
All the turmeric rhizomes were well washed and then set to dry out a little for 1 week after harvest. Use a covered basket, which prevents dust but allows air circulation (prevents mould.) This makes the rhizomes more easily handled and retains more of the rhizome when peeled, in my experience. They shrink a little from their plumped up, ‘just harvested look’, at this stage.
Advice: Fresh turmeric stains anything it contacts, yellow. Wear disposable gloves, protect benches and wash plates and utensils soon after using them when working with it.
Equipment I used:
Disposable gloves, Hand peeler, Mandolin slicer, Food Dryer, Food Processor, Spatula
**Adapt your own equipment**
Method: After putting on my gloves:
- All small knobbly parts of the rhizomes were broken off and kept in a seperate bowl.
- The now more easily peeled large sections were peeled with a hand peeler.
- All unpeeled ‘small knobbles,’ and peels, were put aside for the paste recipe.
- The large peeled turmeric rhizomes were sliced into 3mm width slices using a mandolin slicer with a thickness dial. (I opted for using the mandolin slicer because it keeps slices a consistent width which means drying in the dryer is more uniform, if all are the same width–which means the turmeric will powder easily.)
- The turmeric slices were arranged in a single layer on two trays of my food dryer, with one empty tray on the bottom to prevent over-drying.
- My food dryer has one setting–so I let the turmeric slices dry for 1.5 hours. I decided after checking at the 1.5hr mark that 30 mins more would get it to the optimal dried state for processing into powder-slices should be dry not ‘bendy’. I did swap the bottom slice tray to the top at this stage, as they tend to dry more quickly than the top trays in my dryer model. You will need to use your own judgement on this depending on what drying method you use. Since I have never used an oven to dry turmeric I am not going to give advice on it, except to say that you are trying to dry (not bake) the turmeric– so the oven would have to be set very low, and would presumably take longer than mine did in the food dryer.
- The dried turmeric slices were removed from the dryer trays and put into my food processor to process into powder, on High for 3 mins, then another burst on High for 2 mins. Yes, it takes that long if you want fine powder. It would take longer again if you are grinding the dried slices using mortar and pestle.
- The powder was removed from the processor and put into a glass jar for storage in my pantry. * Storage times vary for differing conditions and climates. Use your own judgement and research*
- Store turmeric powder away from heat and light in the pantry.
Fresh Turmeric Paste
Fresh turmeric processed (fine or grated), black pepper, organic coconut oil, water
Equipment: Grater or food processor, stovetop, pot, whisk/spoon, spatula
- The kept aside large fresh rhizome peels and unpeeled fresh ‘small knobbles’ were pulverised in my food processor. Alternatively you could grate them.
- For every 3 inches of rhizome, you use 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper and 1/3cup water divided. Just do your best to estimate the amount of rhizomes you have–since it’s a paste it’s a fairly ‘forgiving’ recipe, but take care with the amount of water you add, do that ‘by eye’ especially with the other half of the water in step 6.
- In my case I was using the peelings and small rhizome knobbles which amounted to 7 inches of rhizome (so…the recipe amounts multiplied by 2.5). This meant I used 5 tablespoons coconut oil 2.5 tsp fresh ground black pepper and 3/4 cup water, divided.
- Put all solid ingredients into a pot on the stove over medium heat–with only half the amount of water you need to add.
- Using a whisk or spoon, stir all ingredients till combined over medium heat till bubbles form around the side. It may take a little time for the coconut oil to melt if your weather is cool.
- Reduce heat to medium low and cook, slowly adding the remaining water until the mixture forms a paste. The coconut oil tends to slide and glide away from the side of the pot once it reaches this held-together paste.
- Transfer the paste using a spatula or spoon into a glass jar or container.
- Leave to cool, put lid on and refrigerate. Alternatively, put paste into ice cube trays, freeze, pop ice cube portions into a container for easy access when needed.
- As a guide only, this paste can usually be stored for 2 weeks in the fridge–use your own judgement. Frozen paste portions store longer.
Disclaimer… Please do your own research for your own needs and context. The author assumes no responsibility for any outcomes of anyone using this well researched and documented blog post. Enjoy making and using your turmeric powder and paste.