Monday, October 9, 2017

Harvesting Turmeric - Step 2

This year I'm growing quite a bit of turmeric. The roots that I got planted early are just getting ready for harvesting, while the later planted stuff is still green and needs a couple more weeks (I'm guessing). And talking with some other gardeners, I've learned that the turmeric growing in lower, warmer elevations is ready for harvesting well before the higher elevations. I'm about mid-way on the elevation, so some folks have been harvesting for a few weeks while others are still waiting. 

Once the plant is turning brown, I can start harvesting....if I'm impatient. Which I am! I'm out of turmeric and am eager for a resupply. But usually I can let the plant die back even more, as long as the weather isn't daily rain. Below, this plant isn't quite ready for harvesting, but what the heck. It's actually a plant I missed harvesting last year, so it matured ahead of the other plants around it. 

In fact, I missed harvesting a number of plants last year and the tops died completely back and disappeared. Last winter I accidentally found a number of them and was able to harvest the roots.  The hidden turmeric roots were perfectly fine. So I discovered that once the plants die back, the roots can be harvested for use at anytime up until they resprout. 

(Above, when I dug up that dry plant I found a large root ball.) 

I'm finding that the larger the piece that I plant, the larger the fan of roots that I can harvest. Of course that assumes fertile soil and adequate water. Example, this plant I just dug up.........

Wow, what a large clump!!!! As I said, it was a plant I missed harvesting last year. Pretty impressive how much I can get from a missed plant. 

Once I harvest the roots, I cure them by putting them in a dry, airy, shaded spot. Then I store some in the frig wrapped in a damp cloth (so that it's handy) for fresh use. Some sliced up and in the freezer for cooking (it gets soft but it's fine for cooking). Some I will dehydrate then powder (I use a coffee grinder). But the bulk gets stored in the ground where it will stay in good condition until I use it or it starts to sprout. 

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