Turmeric powder is derived from the root of the Curcuma longa plant. In India, turmeric is called haldi. The powder is used as a spice and as an herbal supplement throughout the world. The root is treasured in India for its many uses. Turmeric is used in almost all of India's cuisine, as an ingredient in skin care, as a medicine for various health conditions such as to relieve tooth pain, as a skin dye for ceremonies and to dye cloth. The popularity of turmeric is growing around the world. Turmeric can be purchased in powder form or as a fresh root for grinding at home. Freshly ground turmeric is more flavourful and more colourful.
Put on a pair of disposable gloves to protect the hands from staining. Turmeric has a high amount of colour content and can easily stain the hands. Turmeric stains can remain on the hands even after washing. The stains can last for up to a week.
Boil the turmeric root in a pot of fresh water for 45 minutes. The boiling process is called curing. Curing the root makes it softer and easier to grind as well as enhances the flavour and colour.
Peel the outside layer of skin off the turmeric root using a potato peeler.
Slice the turmeric root into 2-inch long pieces.
Dry the turmeric root in a well-ventilated area out of direct sunlight. Traditionally, turmeric root was dried outside. If you do dry the root outdoors, place it in a shady area. Exposure to direct sunlight will cause the colour of the turmeric to fade. Allow the turmeric to dry for at least one week. The turmeric is fully dry when there is no trace of moisture and when the root is hard.
Break the turmeric root into lentil-size pieces. To break up the root, hit it with a stone or a hammer.
Grind the root into a fine powder using an electric food processor. If you do not have an electric grinder, you can grind the root using a mortar and pestle.
Strain the powder through a fine sieve to eliminate any large chunks of turmeric root. The chunks can be ground again to turn them into a fine powder.
Store turmeric powder in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Keep stored turmeric out of direct sunlight. Properly stored turmeric powder has a shelf life of two years.
Fresh whole turmeric root can be purchased at most Indian grocery stores. Check the resources section of this article for a link to an online store that sells fresh whole turmeric root.
Turmeric stains skin and clothing. Immediately wash all clothing that comes into contact with turmeric to lesson the likelihood of a stain. If turmeric gets on the skin, immediately wash the skin with soap and water. If the skin does stain, lemon juice can be applied topically to speed the fading of turmeric stains on skin.