Turmeric root offers multiple health benefits, including its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. While turmeric root is an excellent addition to many homemade dishes, it’s not usually used frequently enough to use the entire root before it goes bad.
To get the most value for your dollar, you’ll want to preserve fresh turmeric root so that you can use it for weeks and months to come, rather than feel rushed to use it all up before it expires.
It begs the question, “Can you freeze turmeric root?”
If you want to learn how to freeze your fresh turmeric root for long-term storage, read on for step-by-step instructions.
How to Freeze Fresh Turmeric Root
Freezing fresh turmeric root requires just a few more steps than normal countertop or refrigerator storage and more than doubles this powerful root’s lifespan. Follow the steps below, and you’ll have turmeric ready to go for your next recipe.
1. Clean and Prepare
First, you’ll want to diligently clean the roots. You don’t want to freeze them with any dirt or bacteria still lingering on the skin. Scrub the roots with a bit of produce wash and your fingertips or a scrub brush. Once the dirt has lifted, place them on a cutting board.
Dry off each root with a paper towel to pull off any last bits of dirt and remove signs of moisture.
Next, you’ll want to prep the roots for freezing by cutting them into small, manageable pieces. For best results, aim for one to two-inch pieces that are large enough for a single portion but small enough that there won’t be wasteful leftovers.
Cutting them down before freezing also eliminates extra prep when it comes time to use the root.
Now, go ahead and wrap all of your pieces together in one dry paper towel. The paper towel will absorb any extra moisture present on the roots or in the air, extending its life in the fridge.
Take your paper towel pouch and place it into a freezer-safe plastic bag, ideally with a zip-top. Once the roots are in the bag, begin pushing the air out of the bag. Slowly start to zip the top, keeping the bag as airless as possible.
Don’t forget to label the bag, so you know what’s in it and what date you put it in the freezer. Alternatively, you could also write the “best by” date on the bag.
Place the turmeric root in the main box of your freezer. Don’t place it in the door, because turmeric defrosts quickly. If the turmeric hits the warm air every time you open the freezer door, it could compromise the root’s integrity.
The Alternative: Freezing Turmeric Paste
Can you freeze turmeric root paste instead of the whole root?
To do this, you’ll want to blend your cleaned turmeric root with a tiny bit of water or oil. If you like, you can also add some spices like black pepper or salt.
Once you’ve pureed the root into a paste, go ahead and scoop a spoonful of the paste into one cube of an ice cube tray. Repeat the process until the entire tray is filled with turmeric paste.
To use, you’ll simply pop one or two of the cubes out and add it to your skillet or roasting pan. It will quickly defrost and add flavor and health benefits to any meal.
How to Store Fresh Turmeric Root
If you’d prefer to store fresh turmeric root outside of the freezer, you can store it in the fridge or on the counter.
The storage will be the same for either method. Cut the roots down to smaller bits, wrap in a paper towel to absorb excess moisture, place in a plastic container for later use.
Placing your root in the fridge or on the counter won’t last as long as in the freezer. To find out how long it lasts, keep reading.
How Long Does Turmeric Root Last?
Ways to Use Frozen Turmeric Root
To use your turmeric root, either grate from its frozen state for a less messy experience. If you want to use the entire root, let it sit out and defrost for a few hours before use. The frozen turmeric paste doesn’t need to be defrosted unless you plan to use it in a cold dish. In that case, let it defrost in a bowl on the counter for an hour or so.
If you want to use your frozen turmeric but aren’t sure what to do, try one of the following ideas:
- Add it to your smoothie for a superfood, antioxidant boost.
- Grate some of the frozen roots into a skillet curry dish.
- Boil a cup of water with turmeric root in it to make homemade tea.
- Make a golden milk latte by blending plant-based milk with turmeric root puree, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
- Make a Mediterranean dip with yogurt, turmeric, and tahini and pair with fresh veggies.
From sweet treats to hearty and warming dishes, there’s such diversity in the ways to use turmeric root.
Extend the Life of Your Fresh Turmeric Root
Turmeric root is a powerful root that adds antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, and the right level of spice to any dish. The only trouble is that fresh turmeric root doesn’t last very long when stored in the refrigerator.
If you don’t want to waste perfectly good turmeric root and want to extend its lifespan, try following the above instructions for long-lasting frozen turmeric root or turmeric root puree.
Thank you SO much for answering my questions about freezing turmeric root. I love the fresh root and since I just scored a great deal on a large quantity, I was anxious to preserve it for as long as possible.
However, I do think you should warn prospective users as to the powerful staining potential of the root – I’ve had to bleach countertops and cutting boards, not to mention my hands numerous times!
Sorry if I missed it in your article, but how long can I expect frozen turmeric to last? Will the past last longer than the whole tuber as you described preparing it for the freezer? And what about juice? Will that last longer than paste or whole tuber? Thanks!
Hi Ellen, thanks for reading. The general answer I’m comfortable with is that herbs and vegetables can go into the freezer for up to 6 months. But, there are some caveats whenever freezing in terms of how you do it. The main issue is how much air is trapped inside whatever container or sealing method you use. The best is to have an actual vacuum sealed product that you use. The worst is to loosely wrap something in foil or plastic. So, that’s why a definitive answer can’t be given. If you wrap it fairly good (mostly air-tight), then freezing for a few weeks should be fine. The better your method the longer things will stay fresh or usable, up to many months. It also depends on how many times you open/close your freezer and how much condensation and freezing happens. If you notice that the things you freeze get really frosty, that’s not a good sign and means your foods are not as well protected than in a “drier” situation. I hope that helps!
Very helpful breakdown, thank you for taking the time to write this up. The included ideas for use are a nice addition as well!
I made some fresh turmeric tea and left it out overnight is it good to still drink
Thanks for providing the information on keeping turmeric. I found the turmeric plants are easy to grow and harvest so haven’t needed to keep for a long time but will try freeze and also dehydrating. Thanks.
Excellent. Such a tasty and nutritious ingredient!