How To Harvest Turmeric

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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harvesting turmeric

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.

picking turmeric

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.

turmeric rhizomes

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.

turmeric roots


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.

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Kelly Martin

Hi, I'm Kelly Martin, a landscape gardener and designer with over 10 years experience. I have a passion for small space gardening and I love designing and creating beautiful outdoor spaces that maximize the potential of small urban gardens. Read more

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Debi O

    Thank you for the wonderful information. I am a member of a community garden and one of the ladies gave me tumeric root to plant and a handful of tumeric tubers. I replanted the rooted tubers and I am planning to slice and freeze the rest. My question is about the use of tumeric. Someone said it was harmful for anyone who is taking a baby aspirin (I am a cancer patient and my oral chemo causes clots so I have to take 71mg every night) Do you know about the blood thinning properties of tumeric?

    1. Kelly Taylor

      Hi Debi, turmeric does have blood thinning properties so it would be a good idea to check with a medical professional about possible interactions.

  2. Rosemary Metal

    Hi Kelly,
    I just harvested some beautiful roots but when I tasted a piece it was very bitter. is it possible I waited too long to harvest?

  3. David

    Your Turmeric doesnt store well because you wash the rhizomes.

    I dug up my rhizomes and let the soil dry out on them a bit in the sun. Next, I use a knife to get rhizomes apart. Then, after letting the soil layer on the rhizomes fully dry, I used a NEW toothbrush and brushed the soil layer out of every surface and crevice.

    I put them on a towel, closed it up, and placed in the pantry. I eat the rhizomes that dont look like will last long first, so as not to contaminate the entire batch. After about 2 months they began sprouting. After about 5 months, I finally got the chance to plant them again. I had to stop eating them because I wanted a bigger turmeric garden this year.

    Follow this protocol and your turmeric will last through SEASONS in storage.

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