It only takes two considerations to understand how to store turmeric rhizome correctly. With the extensive list of turmeric’s proven health benefits, it’s not surprising why the interest is high in growing them. These plants are even relatively easy to cultivate, so why not have your fresh supply of turmeric at home?
However, learning the turmeric rhizome’s proper storage is essential regardless of how you want to use it later on. In this guide, you’ll understand the techniques for preparing the rhizome and where to store them properly. More so, proper handling of the rhizome creates a productive garden without buying new stocks.
Comprehensive Guide On How To Store Turmeric Rhizome
Consideration #1. Preparing turmeric rhizome for storage
Harvesting turmeric rhizome for storage
For starters, you must know the signs to look for when you can harvest turmeric rhizome. Check the leaves if they are drying and have turned yellowish-brown. You can do this ten months after you planted turmeric.
Once you’re sure that you can harvest, dig around the stalks, and loosen the ground to dugout clumps of soil. Be careful not to damage the rhizomes themselves as you do this, and you should be able to pull up the plant stalks. Some gardeners tend to immediately yank up the stalks, which makes the harvesting impossible and damaging.
Cleaning turmeric rhizome before storage
If you still feel some resistance, you can water the soil lightly to loosen it further. Once you have the crop, cut the rhizome from the stalk or cut the leaves before lifting the rhizomes. Additionally, remove the long roots and leaf scales with sterilized scissors.
You can then rinse off the turmeric rhizomes to get rid of the residues and dirt. An easy method is to soak it in water and let the rhizomes air dry before storage. Depending on your needs, you can cure and process them before storage, either for planting or use in the kitchen.
Consideration #2. Where to store turmeric rhizome
After drying, the next factor to check is where you can store turmeric rhizome safely. The storage process of turmeric is straightforward, but one can make errors on where to keep them. To avoid this, you can use the recommendations of the Food and Agricultural Organization as a guide.
Storing turmeric rhizome for planting
For example, if you’re using the rhizomes for planting, you can cover them with dry leaves and store them in a cool, dark, and well-ventilated area like the greenhouse to prevent rot and dehydration. You can also use pits covered with sand to prevent insect infestation. But if you want, you can treat the rhizome seeds or mother rhizomes with the Indian Institute of Spice Research’s recommended fungicides.
Storing turmeric rhizome for eating
What if you aim to eat fresh turmeric rhizomes later? After drying, place the rhizomes in the fridge inside a sealed and air-tight container. The rhizomes should last well for a few weeks after harvest with this storage method.
On the other hand, you can also freeze some rhizomes and dehydrate the other portion in the sun if you want to create turmeric powder. For the freezing, you can put them in an air-tight container in the freezer, and they’ll last for a year. However, do note that you want to use them earlier as possible for better flavor.
For the ground turmeric, keep them in air-tight containers in a dark location out of direct sunlight. You can then prevent the growth of microorganisms and possible moisture inside by exposing the container to the sun occasionally. Overall, the main takeaway here is that the best area for storing turmeric rhizome is dry and out of direct sunlight that can cause diseases, fungal growth, and infection.
Planting Turmeric Rhizome
If you opt to cultivate turmeric, you can use the rhizomes for planting. You can do this in the greenhouse using pots or planters. Prepare the rhizome by cutting it, making sure that each piece will have two buds or more.
A slightly alkaline potting soil works well with turmeric, and you can just lay a piece on the top center of it with the buds facing upward. Cover the piece with soil and water thoroughly until the medium is moist. Then, put the pot inside a plastic bag and place it in the greenhouse area around 70 to 95°F.
The turmeric rhizome is one of the most versatile crops you can harvest. Learning the proper way on how to store turmeric rhizome will help you get the most of it for planting and consumption. To start, ensure that you have cleaned the rhizome and remove its long roots and leaf scale.
You can then store the rhizomes in a cool, dark, and well-ventilated area. The main takeaway here is to protect it from moisture to prevent diseases and fungal growth. You can also use approved fungicides, cure the rhizomes, or let them dry out in the sun before grinding.
For consumption, you can either freeze or refrigerate your rhizomes in an air-tight container. While freezing can elongate the shelf life of rhizomes for a year, remember that you’ll make the most of the rhizomes’ flavors if you eat them as soon as possible.