Harvesting turmeric from your garden is easy to do and it’s a great way to get the benefits of this nutritious root without spending a lot of money.
In this article I’ll tell you when turmeric is ready to harvest, the best way to harvest it, and give you tips for cooking and storing turmeric rhizomes from your garden.
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Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is part of the same plant family as ginger.
It’s an herbaceous perennial plant that can grow up to 3 feet (90 cm) tall.
The edible part of turmeric is an underground rhizome or root tuber, similar to ginger root.
Turmeric is native to Southeast Asia, where it’s been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine and traditional Indian cooking.
When is turmeric ready to harvest?
Turmeric tubers are harvested in late fall or early winter, 8 to 10 months after planting.
The trick to harvesting turmeric successfully is getting the timing right.
If you harvest the tubers too early, they won’t be big enough but if you wait too long they’ll become woody and fibrous.
The best time to harvest them is when the leaves start to turn yellow and the stems have begun to dry out.
How to harvest turmeric
To harvest turmeric, dig up the entire plant at the base of the stem using a garden fork or trowel, taking care not to pierce the tubers.
Gently pull all of the roots and tubers out of the ground and shake off the soil.
Once you have harvested the fresh turmeric root, cut off the foliage and fibrous roots and wash the tubers with cool running water.
How to store fresh turmeric root
Turmeric doesn’t store well for long periods of time, so after harvest it’s best to use fresh turmeric root within a couple of weeks.
There are also many ways to preserve turmeric so you can use it for months after harvesting.
To freeze turmeric, place it whole or sliced into a freezer bag and use them within a year.
You can also dehydrate turmeric by slicing it thinly and drying it out in a dehydrator.
After the turmeric is dry it can be made into a fine powder using a spice grinder.
Turmeric powder will keep in the freezer for up to a year and it can be stored at room temperature for 6 to 9 months.
How to save turmeric rhizomes to replant
If you’d like to plant some of your rhizomes next growing season you can store them in a cool, dark spot until they’re ready to plant in spring.
How to cook with turmeric
Turmeric is most commonly used as an ingredient in curry dishes, but it’s also great added to soups and stews, or made into a tea.
Turmeric can also be added to foods such as rice, potatoes, lentils, yogurt, sauerkraut, eggs or milk.
You can make a turmeric paste by mixing turmeric powder with water and apply it directly to your skin for an antioxidant boost.
So there are my tips for harvesting turmeric roots from your garden.
If you have any questions about harvesting turmeric, please ask in the comments section below.