Curcuma, Saffron Des Indes Kurkuma Gelbwurzel, Gurkmeja, Fanwin, Kurkum, Geelwortel, Kaha, Curcuma Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. It is native to tropical South Asia and needs temperatures between 20 °C and 30 °C (68 °F and 86 °F) and a considerable amount of annual rainfall to thrive. Plants are gathered annually for their rhizomes, and propagated from some of those rhizomes in the following season.
When not used fresh, the 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 and Middle Eastern cuisine, for dyeing, and to impart color to mustard condiments. Its active ingredient is curcumin and it has a distinctly earthy, slightly bitter, slightly hot peppery flavor and a mustardy smell. Curcumin can be used to test the alkalinity or acidity of foods. It turns yellow in an acidic food, and it turns red in an alkaline food.
In medieval Europe, turmeric became known as Indian saffron, since it was widely used as an alternative to the far more expensive saffron spice.
Kasur district of Pakistan is the largest producer of turmeric in Pakistan. Nizamabad, a city in the south Indian state of Andhra pradesh, is the world's largest producer and most important trading center of turmeric in Asia. Erode in Tamil Nadu is another important turmeric trading center that receives turmeric produced not only from Tamil Nadu, but also from the neighboring state of Karnataka. In history, Erode is also known as the "Turmeric City". Sangli, a town in the southern part of the Indian western state of Maharashtra, is another large trading center for turmeric in Asia. Mayo cultivators introduced different varieties of turmeric in Kasur.
Turmeric is commonly called Pasupu in Telugu, Kaha in Sinhala, Manjal in Tamil literally meaning yellow color, Arisina in Kannada, Haridra in Sanskrit, Haldi in Urdu and Haldar or Haldi in Hindi, Haladi in Oriya, Halud in Bengali Besar in Nepalese. Attempts to patent turmeric have been defeated.
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