Making your own turmeric powder is not only easy and cost effective, but it will also produce the best quality end product that is superior to anything else you can buy. This is very important because as we will see, there are a lot of crap products out there that don’t deliver the results you’re expecting. Medicine making at home is a cultural skill that we really need to re-introduce to the modern world, for we are in danger of un-educating ourselves to the point of corporate dependency. Not an ideal situation to be in if we’re honest…
If you want to learn more about the vast array of health benefits offered by turmeric you can read THIS ARTICLE that I wrote recently. Also, if you would prefer to make your own turmeric powder by following video instructions, here you go:
In order to make your own turmeric powder, you are going to need the following items:
- Fresh turmeric rhizomes
- Vegetable peeler
- Kitchen knife
- Wooden chopping board
- Kitchen gloves (optional)
- Large mixing bowl
- Food dehydrator/solar oven/some way of drying the roots
- Spice mill or coffee grinder
- Kilner jar/mason jar or some other airtight glass jar for storage
So before we get into the process of making the powder, we need to discuss the importance of discerning good turmeric from most of what is available on the market. Conventional, non-organic turmeric is grown with pesticides and other chemicals that are unnatural and your body is unable to metabolise them. Non-organic turmeric is also routinely irradiated, supposedly to ensure that the food is ‘safe’ from food-borne pathogens, but in truth, food irradiation is a practice that hasn’t been done on a large scale for long enough for us to know what the long term consequences to our health may be. Irradiating food does create a lot of free radicals within the food itself, and although it may destroy pathogens, it also creates toxins and destroys a lot of the nutrient value. This is far from ideal and while it may increase shelf life it is more in alignment with corporate profits than your health.
It is also very common that non-organic turmeric is dyed in order to give it a more vibrant and appealing colour. This has led many people to mistakenly believe that it is more potent and contains a higher concentration of curcuminoids (the active constituents in turmeric), but this simply is not the case. Often when we are consuming non-organic, irradiated and dyed turmeric, we are generally just dying our food rather than infusing it with medicine.
So organic is absolutely essential if you are planning on using turmeric as a health promoting herbal powerhouse! Better still, if you can get biodynamic roots then all the better, otherwise organic will still be excellent.
So once we have our whole, fresh, organic turmeric rhizomes, we need to peel them in order to remove the outer skin and reveal the bright orange flesh underneath. The skin doesn’t contain any curcumin and will dilute the potency of our powder, plus it will create an uneven consistency.
*WARNING Peeling turmeric is going to dye your hands orange – no doubt about it! This is good news if you have rheumatoid arthritis in your hands/knuckles and want to obtain some anti-inflammatory and analgesic benefits, but it will take about a week for the orange colour to wash out. If you don’t have any inflammatory conditions in your hands and/or don’t want them to glow a bright orange colour for a week, you should wear gloves!
Once you have peeled all of your roots you are going to need to chop them into small pieces roughly the size of a finger nail (or smaller). This will make them easier to dry properly and grind into a finer powder.
Once chopped the pieces of root will need to be dried thoroughly, but first you must give them a very quick rinse, and I mean quick! Any more than a few seconds will start to extract some of the constituents within the root. All you’re aiming to do here is remove some of the tiny bits of peel and debris on the surface of the roots so that they can be dried and ground into the purest powder possible.
If you can sun dry them then do it this way. A solar oven is a good option for sun drying them while keeping them protected from the wind, insects and debris, but if you are going to dry them in full sun outside just be sure to cover them with a gauze/mesh. If you live in a colder climate, it’s winter or sun drying is just not possible, you can use a food dehydrator. If you do this then you should dry the turmeric at 105°F/41°C for 4 hours. This will allow the roots to dry thoroughly while still retaining all of the nutrient value and enzyme integrity.
After the drying process is complete, start grinding them in your spice mill/coffee grinder. When you have ground some of the turmeric this way you will need to use a sieve to filter out the larger pieces from the smaller ones so that you can get a nice, fine powdery consistency. The larger pieces of turmeric that don’t make it through the sieve can be put back into the mill for more grinding. This process should be repeated until every piece of turmeric has been reduced to a find powder.
Now your turmeric powder is ready! If you compare it to other (even organic) store bought turmeric powder, it should look A LOT more vibrant, have a stronger aroma and flavour and be more potent all ’round! You can’t buy turmeric powder like this – only by preparing it yourself at home can you obtain turmeric medicine of this calibre…
Store it properly in an airtight glass jar and it should last you a long time. I often use dessicant bags (small pouches filled with silica) inside the jar as they help to absorb any moisture and stop the powder from becoming damp and losing some of its shelf-life.
* Remember also that by combining black pepper (Piper nigrum) with turmeric, you can increase the rate of absorption of curcumin into the blood by 2000%! To achieve this enhanced effect you only need to mix the pepper at this ratio: 1 part black pepper to 100 parts turmeric. READ THIS for more information on the profound health benefits of turmeric.
** Those suffering from IBS, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis or other inflammatory conditions of the gastrointestinal tract may not want to combine black pepper with turmeric as it is advised to keep as much turmeric in the small intestine/colon as possible. Alternatively, you could consume turmeric both with and without black pepper intermittently throughout the day. This would allow the condition to be treated by curcumin from within the bloodstream as well as the unabsorbed curcumin within the GI tract.