THE THREE FEET PLANT WITH MIGHTY MEDICINAL POWER
The botanical name of Turmeric is Curcuma longa. There are many varieties of Turmeric, the most important commercial spice crop in India, which is the largest producer, exporter and consumer of Turmeric. Other producers include Thailand, Central and Latin America and South East Asian countries. Around 133 species of Curcuma have been identified worldwide. The three feet plant produces both flower and a rhizome (a stem found underground).
The good quality rhizome is judged by its clean, smooth skin and uniform colours. Rhizome looks like ginger and comes as fingers, bulbs and splits. While fingers are secondary branches, bulbs and splits are cut halves before curing. Rhizome is processed into powder or oleoresin (Turmeric extracts).
Turmeric harvest happens 7 - 10 months after planting, depending on the soil. Rhizome bunches are carefully dug out, cleaned and then cured or processed or stored for planting later. Before drying, rhizomes are cured, wherein they are boiled until soft. Turmeric powder is made after peeling the skin of the tuber and drying it completely. After the production of Turmeric, during the processing stage, Turmeric usually loses its essential oils. Whole fingers of Turmeric are grinded fresh for best flavour.
Varieties of Turmeric
There are more than fifty types of haldi, but not all are used in cooking. The premium varieties include Lakadong, consisting of the highest Curcumin content in the world. This variety is grown in remote regions of Meghalaya in North eastern India. Some of the finest types of Turmeric known for rich Curcumin and medicinal values include Rajendra Sonia, Roma, Suroma, Ranga, Rashmi. Kasturi and Kesari types of haldi are considered to be best for skin rejuvenation and are widely used in cosmetics.
A glance at some of the major varieties of Turmeric grown in India
|Varieties of Indian Turmeric||State|
Erode, Salem, Roma, Suguna
The two dominant types of Turmeric found in the international market are Madras and Allepey variants. While the intense and bright Madras type consists of 2% of volatile oils and 2% of Curcumin, the orange-yellow flesh of Allepeycontains 3 - 5.5% oils and 4 - 7% Curcumin. The Patna variety is known for its deep colour. Whereas Maharashtra's Lokhandi has bright hard rhizomes.
Duggirala of Andhra Pradesh, has long, stout, smooth and hard fingers. Other varieties in this region include kasturi, Armoor and Chaya. The variants of Roma, Suroma, Rangi and Rasmi are cultivated in Odisha. The Lakadong variety grown in remote regions of Meghalaya, is known as the world's finest Turmeric with highest Curcumin content.The production of Turmeric with organic farming methods encourage healthy, nutritive and pesticide free Turmeric that retains its healing properties. Turmeric can be cultivated organically, provided the surrounding crops are also organically grown.