My Yellow Moment

Every time she opened the container (it’s a glass bottle with a steel lid) the aroma travelled to our drawing room. I breathed in spurts taking a chest full of the aroma and feeling contented. For I know the labour and effort put behind it. At the same time realising why the Portuguese, the Dutch and the English came in search of the spices to India’s coast.
I’ve spent a quite a long time on this planet and never knew that spices also have their aroma. Because what we have been using is the powdered variety, available in paper cartons or buying it loose from the neighbourhood kirana shop.
turmericHaving sown the rhizomes with the onset of the monsoon and harvesting bucketfuls of raw turmeric in the last week of February, it took me three trips to bring them home. With each trip I brought around 5kgs. For three days I let it dry in shade and on the fourth day boiled them for some 45 minutes. An then let them dry under the cot, having spread them on a cotton sari. As days passed, the rhizomes dried-up. Fifteen days later, the rhizomes were hard as wood pieces. The volumes, quarter of the original. In fact, much less. Weighing it before giving it for grinding my heart sank and a thought passed my mind: So much effort and so little yield.
Seven months of being under the soil, couple of manuring sessions, digging it out, separating the tap root (which can be sown the next season) from the rhizomes, cleaning it, boiling and then drying it. And at last what you get is not worth all the effort.
This morning when wifey opened the glass bottle to add a pinch to the dish she was making it; it dawned on me that the effort was worth it. As the mild fragrance slightly reminiscent of orange, ginger and mustard wafted in the room I felt blessed. Because it was first time I had smelt turmeric, the fragrance coming from its active ingredient, curcumin. I went ahead and put a teaspoon full of it in my mouth enjoying its distinctly earthy, slightly bitter, slightly hot peppery flavour.
Turmeric (Haldi) takes around nine months to yield its fruit but doesn’t take much caring and giving. It’s on-it-own plant. And that’s the reason l like it. It’s a spice that ignites our body’s astonishing immune system. It’s 5 to 8 times stronger than vitamin E and stronger than vitamin C; this ‘antioxidant breakthrough’ helps boost your immunity, maintains normal cholesterol levels, and puts the brakes on ageing.
I have lived all my life blissfully unaware that turmeric besides providing colour to the dishes also has a aroma of its own!
This spice, I’m told is taken by cricketer Sachin Tendulkar with warm milk before he retires to the bed.
You know why? Its health properties, dude.

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4 thoughts on “My Yellow Moment

  1. madhavi

    pretty cool
    had a similar experience only the space i sow is small (2′-4′) I have three plots one for tumeric, mango ginger and regular ginger sometime arbi – these plants are great as you plant the rhizomes and they grow with just litle manure and much less pests. first time I have followed the process you describe and since the amount was so small 1/2 kg i just hand pounded it – before bioiling I cut it into small pieces so that i can hand pound. smell is amazing and worth trying to grow again starting june.
    thanks for the great article truly inspirational.
    madhavi

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