Monday, April 18, 2016

More precious than gold !

We have been growing turmeric organically for a couple of years now. Mostly for its aromatic leaves, in which we use to wrap and steam cook quite some delicacies. This year, we decided to go a step ahead and make turmeric powder from the rhizomes. 

After the green leaves wilt the rhizomes are generally harvested. Although our plants wilted in November itself, due to lack of commitment from our part we left the rhizomes in the ground. Mother nature takes care of them. Finally in April, we dug out the Rhizomes and manged to get about 4 kgs of them. We kept aside 250 grams of healthy looking rhizomes for the next crop and washed the rest of the turmeric rhizomes thoroughly to remove all mud.  

Next we boiled the turmeric for about 45 minutes. This boiling makes the turmeric yellow in colour and floods the kitchen with turmeric aroma. (my previous experiment with a small batch of unboiled turmeric gave me dark brown turmeric, instead of yellow ones.)  I boiled the turmeric till I was able to easily poke a fork them.

I decided not to peel the skin of the turmeric. Since our turmeric is organically grown, the skin can have only valuable nutrients, without any pesticide residue and it is too precious to be chucked away. On the other hand, the colour of the turmeric will not be bright yellow-orange, something that we can live with.

We then broke off the fingers that are attached to the rhizomes into individual bits and once boiled they easily snap off.
The turmeric was then dried in the scorching April sun and after two days of sun drying, they shrivel up quite a bit.

We then took a  hammer and pounded the rhizomes flat. The increased surface area helps in drying of the rhizomes. See the photograph below of a well flattened batch of once juicy, plump turmeric.

A couple of days more of sun drying and the turmeric is completely dry. It feels as hard as a stone.

Now comes the powdering part. Instead of giving it to a mill, we decided to use our normal mixer to grind it. Although it meant more work, we did not want to contaminate our organic harvest with other unknown batches.

15 seconds of grinding, at the lowest speed, gave quite good results.  I sieved the powder through the finest net and and residue was put in the jar again for another round of grinding.

After two rounds of grinding and sieving, nearly all the turmeric was converted into a fine powder.

The powder was as fine as the ones made commercially.

It took me 2 hours of grinding in small batches, to grind our entire quota of turmeric. 4 kg of rhizomes gave us 650 grams of turmeric powder. The colour may not be bright like the commercially available variety, but the aroma is as powerful if not more than any turmeric powder that I have seen.

Free from pesticides and adulterants, this jar should last us for six month. The next time we aim for a quantity that is enough for one year.

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