Turmeric originated from the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, and it requires subterranean temperatures and plentiful rain.

It is a bright orange root-like stem, commonly used as a flavouring and colouring in many Asian cuisines. It is a popular ingredient in curry powders and an ingredient of Ras el Hanout.

What to look for

Select cylindrical stems which are bright orange.


As fresh turmeric is imported, check availability with a vegetable retailer.


Store turmeric in the refrigerator for up to 10 days, or freeze for six months.

How to prepare

Peel the stem and grate or finely chop. Use gloves as turmeric may stain the skin.

Ways to eat

Turmeric is used to flavour and colour foods. It adds a mustard-like, slightly bitter flavour to foods. It is usually used in savoury dishes, however, it is used in some traditional sweet dishes and beverages. Fresh turmeric is usually peeled, boiled, dried and ground to produce powder.

Cooking methods

Stir fry, braise, stew.


For most people fresh turmeric is eaten in small quantities, so is considered more for its flavour and natural colour than nutritional value. Turmeric is used in traditional Asian remedies, however more scientific evidence is required to support its use.