Turmeric Key facts The rhizomes of the turmeric plant are boiled for several hours then dried and ground to the deep orange-yellow powder. In Medieval Europe, turmeric was known as Indian saffron as it was often used like saffron to colour dishes but in a much cheaper way.

This is a root that belongs to the ginger family and in some oriental shops can be bought fresh, but the powdered version has been dried and pounded.

It has a very fragrant aroma and a brilliant yellow-ochre colour, which is what makes Indian pilau rice that lovely pale yellow. It is also a major ingredient in our own beloved piccalilli. I always use a little in every curry mixture, as much for its fragrance as for its colour.

Because it comes ready-ground, it doesn't have a long shelf life, so keep an eye on the date stamp.

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