Turmeric is a spice that’s popular in Asian cuisine. It has a warm and bitter taste that’s used to flavor or color curry powders. Tumeric can either be used in powder form or fresh raw roots. If you enjoy using this spice in your cooking, you may be wondering how long turmeric can last.
How Long Does Turmeric Last?
Turmeric that is grounded, dried, or commercially bottled will last for 3 to 4 years. The actual shelf life will depend on storage conditions. It needs to be stored in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and sunlight.
At room temperature, ground turmeric will be at its best quality for about 3 to 4 years.
For fresh turmeric roots, it will last only a couple of days at room temperature.
In the fridge, ground turmeric will last up to 4 years. It’s really not necessary to store them in the fridge since it won’t extend their shelf life. Storing them in the fridge could potentially cause them to go bad quickly if it’s not stored properly. Moisture could leak in and cause it to shorten its shelf life.
For fresh turmeric roots, it will last for about 2-3 weeks in the fridge. Make sure to store them in an airtight container or plastic bag to prevent moisture from damaging them.
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Turmeric will generally not go bad if it’s properly stored. It will start to lose potency over time. The longer it’s in storage, the weaker the aroma, and the flavor will not be as strong.
Turmeric should be used within 4 years for the best quality.
However, if it’s exposed to moisture or heat, it can go bad. The moisture will cause the turmeric to clump together and mold can start growing on it.
As for heat, turmeric that’s constantly exposed to it can go bad too. Whether it’s the sunlight or heat from an appliance, the heat will make them deteriorate in quality quickly.
How To Tell When Turmeric Is Bad?
For grounded turmeric, if it’s properly stored, there won’t be any signs to tell that it’s spoiled.
Therefore, you’ll need to test the potency of the turmeric. Simply rub or crush a small amount of the spice in your hand. Then taste and smell it.
If the aroma of it is weak and the flavor is not as strong as it should be, the entire turmeric should be discarded.
As for fresh turmeric, there are a couple of signs to look for when they go bad.
The first thing to look for is their appearance. Fresh turmeric that is spoiled will have a darker color and the outer skin will be wrinkled.
Also, there may be mold growing on it as well. If there are a couple of small molds growing, you can cut that part away and use the rest. However, if the entire turmeric roots are covered with mold, it’s best to discard the entire thing.
Another thing to look for is the weight of the turmeric roots. When they start to go bad, they will begin to lose moisture. If the flesh is dry, you should discard it since it has already lost all of its nutrition and taste.
How To Store Turmeric
There are a couple of ways to store turmeric and it will depend if you’re storing them fresh or grounded.
For fresh turmeric roots, if you’re going to use them within 3 days, it’s best to store them in a cool and dry place, away from the sunlight and other heat sources. The pantry is a good place to store them since it’s cool and dry.
If you’re not going to use them within 3 days, it’s recommended to store turmeric roots in the refrigerator. Cut the turmeric roots into smaller pieces or store them as a whole. Wrap the roots in a paper towel and place them into an airtight container or plastic bag. The paper towel will absorb the moisture from the roots while it’s in the fridge. This will prevent condensation in the bag and avoid mold from growing on it.
Another option to store fresh turmeric roots is to place them in the potting soil. They will continue to grow so be sure to water them as you would other plants. When you’re ready to use the turmeric roots, dig them out of the soil and you’ll have fresh roots to use.
For grounded turmeric, storing them at room temperature should be in an airtight container or jar. Make sure it’s sealed tight to prevent any air leakage. As long as the air can’t enter the container, the grounded turmeric will last for many years.
If you want to store them in the refrigerator, it’s possible too but it’s highly not recommended. Storing ground turmeric in the fridge could cause moisture buildup in the container that it’s stored in. Once moisture is buildup, it will make the ground turmeric become moist and clump up together. This will encourage mold growth on them afterward.
Can You Freeze Turmeric?
Turmeric that is grounded and fresh whole roots can be stored in the freezer. However, it’s not necessary to freeze ground turmeric as the shelf life will be the same as storing them at room temperature.
As for fresh whole turmeric roots, freezing is a great way to extend their shelf life. It will require a bit of prepping to ensure it will freeze well and stay fresh for a long time.
Freezing Tumeric Roots
- To freeze turmeric roots, you’ll need to cut them down into small pieces first. For best results, cut them into portion sizes of about one to two-inch pieces. That way, you will have a large enough for a single portion but small enough that it won’t go to waste.
- Then wrap it with a dry paper towel. The paper towel will absorb any excess moisture from the roots. Leave for about a minute to let it soak up the moisture.
- After that, unwrap the old paper towel and wrap it again with a new paper towel. When it’s in the freezer, the paper towel will absorb any extra moisture on the roots or in the air.
- Place the wrapped turmeric roots into an airtight container or freezer bag. If using a freezer bag, make sure to remove any excess air from it. Start by zipping the top of the bag and leaving about half an inch of space. Then push out as much air as you can and seal it tight.
- Label the bag or container with the date of freezing and place it into the freezer.
Is eating expired grounded turmeric safe?
Yes, it is safe to eat grounded turmeric that has passed its shelf life. However, the spice will lose its potency. The flavor will diminish a lot and it may not have that bitter and warm taste that you’re after.