Turmeric root is an amazing ingredient to keep handy in your kitchen. It has amazing health benefits, such as improving heart health, anti-inflammatory effects, and cancer prevention.
From curries to lattes, you can use turmeric in many recipes to ensure you’re getting enough of it in your diet.
If you have turmeric root or plan on buying it in the future, you need to know how to store it properly to avoid it spoiling. Proper storage can help you save money and prevent food waste.
It’s pretty easy to store. Turmeric root can be kept in a brown paper bag and placed in the refrigerator for two weeks. It can last even longer when frozen, lasting up to six months in the refrigerator.
If your turmeric root is close to its expiry date, you can dehydrate it and turn it into dried turmeric powder.
This all sounds relatively easy, but you should understand a few things about these methods before attempting them for the first time.
Read on to find out how to store turmeric root properly, so you can get the most out of this amazing superfood.
Why Is Turmeric Root A Health Food?
At first glance, turmeric root looks uninteresting. You might even mistake it for ginger! However, once you’ve peeled off its tough outer layer, you’ll find its bright orange flesh beneath the surface.
While turmeric is often called a root, it should be named a Rhizome. This is a stem that develops underground.
As turmeric is a stem, it has nodes on its face that can grow other stems. Turmeric is well known for being an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
Turmeric is used a lot within Ayurvedic and Chinese medicines. For centuries, many cultures have used it to treat wounds and defend against infections. Turmeric is also called Haldi, Jiang Huang, and Haridra.
When turmeric is turned into a powder, it’s also called Indian Saffron. This is often added to South Asian foods to give it its noticeable yellow hue.
Its main active substance is called curcumin. This ingredient has been known to lower the risk of certain cancers within locations where residents eat it as part of their regular diet.
Curcumin is an effective compound, but our digestive tract can struggle to absorb it well. A lot of healthy recipes use black pepper alongside turmeric.
Black pepper contains piperine, a substance that can improve curcumin’s absorption rate. There are many turmeric and black pepper recipes, but you can also find capsules and powders which contain these two foods.
How To Keep Fresh Turmeric Root In The Refrigerator
Turmeric can keep well in the refrigerator, but you need to make sure that it stays dry.
Follow these steps to do so.
Step 1: Scrubbing And Cleaning
Use a brush or your fingers to scrub the turmeric root. It’s important to ensure that the root is clean before eating or storing.
Cleaning will remove most of the residue built up on its surface along its journey. Whether it’s dirt, germs, or fertilizers, you should aim to remove all of its debris.
If you clean the root properly, you won’t have to remove the skin. The skin is normally removed before eating to get rid of debris and bacteria.
Step 2: Pat Dry
After you’ve cleaned your turmeric root, you need to make sure it’s dry. Any moisture left on the root can lead to mold growing on the root. You can stop this from occurring by patting the root dry with a paper towel.
Step 3: Store In A Brown Paper Bag
It’s best to keep your turmeric root within a brown paper bag. Paper bags are great at eliminating excess moisture, which can help to prevent mold growth.
If you don’t have a brown paper bag, don’t worry! You can mimic the same effects by wrapping the turmeric in a paper towel, then placing it within a sandwich bag.
Just like the paper bag, the paper towel will soak up any water or moisture, keeping the turmeric root dry.
Step 4: Place In Refrigerator
All you have to do now is place the brown paper bag (with the turmeric inside) in the fridge.
It’s pretty easy to store turmeric root in the fridge, but if you’re planning on using it after more than two weeks, freezing it is a better idea so it won’t turn to waste.
How To Keep Turmeric Root In The Freezer
You can freeze turmeric root but beware. Turmeric root will lose its firmness and texture when it defrosts.
Follow these steps to freeze turmeric root successfully.
Step 1: Scrubbing And Cleaning
As we would before refrigerating, use a brush to clean the turmeric root. You can use your fingers if you don’t have a brush.
You don’t need to do this if you’re freezing turmeric that has been previously refrigerated, as you should have cleaned the root already.
You do need to scrub the turmeric if it hasn’t been cleaned before. Make sure you clean it well to avoid germs or pesticides freezing along with it.
Step 2: Cutting
Use a sharp knife to cut the root into cubes. Aim for pieces approximately one inch in diameter. This will be big enough for one serving, but small enough to avoid wasting surplus turmeric root.
Step 3: Preparation
We need to prevent moisture from affecting the root, just like we would when refrigerating turmeric. Wrap the root in a paper towel, then put it inside a plastic freezer bag.
The paper towel will stop excess water and moisture from reaching the root.
After you place the root in the freezer bag, compress any air out of the bag before sealing. This will stop the root from experiencing freezer burn.
Step 4: Label With Date
Use a permanent marker to write the date on the bag. This will help you know when it is safe to consume. You can use the turmeric as long as it hasn’t been frozen for more than six months.
When you want to use your frozen turmeric root, simply take it out of the freezer. If you want to use the whole root, let the cube (or cubes) defrost before using it.
If you only want to use some of the turmerics, you can use a grater to shred the root into your food.
Remember, the turmeric will start to thaw as soon as it’s taken out of the freezer. Don’t remove it unless you’re ready to use the turmeric.
Never place defrosted turmeric root back in the freezer as this will affect its quality.
How To Create Turmeric Powder
Refrigerating and freezing your turmeric root are good preservation methods, but turning it into powder can make your turmeric last for a whole year.
Follow these steps to turn turmeric root into powder.
Step 1: Rinsing
Clean the turmeric root with warm water. You don’t need to scrub the root with this method as you’ll be removing the skin later. Just give the roots a good rinse.
Step 2: Removing The Skin
Remove the skin with a vegetable peeler. Turmeric root has knobs that can be difficult to peel, so take care.
You can use a knife to remove these knobs first instead of trying to peel over them. Use whatever method works for you, but don’t worry if there’s a tiny bit of skin leftover.
Step 3: Slicing
Use a sharp knife to slice the root. Keep these pieces on the thin side, as this will help them dry out quicker.
You may want to wear gloves for this stage, as turmeric can stain your skin.
Step 4: Baking
Line a baking tray with baking paper, then line the slices on it. Spread them out evenly, making sure they don’t overlap.
Set the oven to 200°F, then bake for 2 hours.
Step 5: Grinding
Once the slices are done, wait for them to cool, then place them into a food processor. Grind until it resembles a fine powder.
Step 6: Storage
Pour the powder into a spice jar, then label with the date. Place the jar in a cool, dark cupboard. The turmeric powder can be stored and consumed safely for up to a year.
Keep in mind that turmeric root is bright yellow and can stain anything it touches. It may stain your skin, kitchen equipment, and clothing.
Which Is Better, Turmeric Root Or Powder?
Turmeric powder is made by drying turmeric out. This can make the root lose its oils and potency.
Dried turmeric powder is still useful, but it can’t compare with the fresh form. Fresh turmeric has a better flavor and contains more beneficial oils.
However, fresh turmeric is harder to store and can be messy to use in cooking. Turmeric powder is more practical and tidier to use.
If health benefits and flavor are more of a concern, you may want to stick to turmeric root. Those that want to have an easier time cooking or want to avoid stains may prefer to use turmeric powder.
If you’re buying fresh turmeric root, look in the produce aisle of your grocery store. It’s often found next to or around the ginger root.
If you can, feel the root to make sure it’s firm. Don’t purchase turmeric root if it feels soft, looks dry or seems shrunken.
If you’re looking for turmeric powder, try to make sure it’s of good quality. Ethnic food stores and specialty shops often have fresher goods that are sourced from suitable locations.
Don’t settle for less expensive turmeric powder. This can taste bitter and unpleasant, which may put you off turmeric for a while.
Turmeric root is a superfood with many health benefits, so it’s important to understand how to store it correctly.
You can store turmeric root in the fridge for two weeks, and in the freezer for six months. Always clean your root well before storing it, and make sure that it’s completely dry before doing so.
If you want to store it for longer, you can turn your root into powder. This will keep for up to a year.
Fresh turmeric root will taste better and have more health benefits, but turmeric powder is more convenient to use.
Keep this in mind, as there may be times when you want to prioritize flavor over practicality, and vice versa.