Curcuma longa

Turmeric is obtained from the rhizome of the plant Curcuma longa. This perennial relative of ginger grows over 2 metres high and has large, lily-shaped leaves and pale flowers. The plant develops several, thickly swollen rhizomes, which are dried or ground to produce the spice. Turmeric is an important ingredient in curry, giving it its typical yellow colour. The colouring agent contained in the rhizomes resembles that in saffron, which is why turmeric was previously also referred to as “Indian saffron“.

Countries of origin

India, China, Southeast Asia, South America, Australia
Turmeric is indigenous to Southeast Asia; the largest crop areas are located in India. It was introduced in Europe by Arabian merchants and also known in ancient Rome.

Flavour and aroma

The mildly aromatic, peppery-fresh fragrance of turmeric is similar to a combination of oranges and ginger. But its taste is distinctly pungent, slightly sour and acrid. Rice dishes (Spanish paella), sweet-sour chutneys; for seasoning sauces, fish, poultry and meat, as well as mayonnaise Turmeric can be used wherever the taste of curry would seem too strong. It seasons white sauces and poultry stews, and is suitable for colouring rice dishes, meat marinades and dressings for shrimp and shellfish. In general, turmeric is primarily used in Indonesian or Indian cuisine. The food industry also utilises it as a natural colouring, such as in mustard.

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