Turmeric — Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae which is native to tropical South Asia. It needs temperatures between 20 and 30 deg. C. and a considerable amount of annual rainfall to thrive. Plants are gathered annually for their rhizomes, and re-seeded from some of those rhizomes in the following season.
It is also often misspelled (or pronounced) as tumeric. It is also known as kunyit or haldi in some Asian countries.
Its rhizomes are boiled for several hours and then dried in hot ovens, after which they are ground into a deep orange-yellow powder commonly used as a spice in curries and other South Asian cuisine, for dyeing, and to impart color to mustard condiments. Its active ingredient is curcumin and it has an earthy, bitter, peppery flavor and has a mustardy smell.
Sangli, a town in the southern part of the Indian state of Maharashtra, is the largest and most important trading centre for turmeric in Asia or perhaps in the entire world.
In recipes, Turmeric is sometimes used as a coloring agent. It has found application in canned beverages, baked products, dairy products, ice cream, yogurt, yellow cakes, biscuits, popcorn-color, sweets, cake icings, cereals, sauces, gelatins, etc. It is a significant ingredient in most commercial curry powders.
In Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric is thought to have many medicinal properties and many in India use it as a readily available antiseptic for cuts, burns and bruises. Practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine say it has fluoride which is thought to be essential for teeth. It is also used as an antibacterial agent.