Top Turmeric Suppliers and simple steps to evaluate its Quality
Turmeric also known as the “Golden Spice” or “Indian Saffron” is native to South East Asia. India is the world’s biggest Turmeric supplier and producer, followed by Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, China, Myanmar and Indonesia. Besides South East Asia, turmeric is also grown in tropical regions of Africa, America, and Pacific Ocean Islands. As turmeric cultivation is labor intensive, it has been neglected by many countries across the globe.
India accounts for more than 80% of world’s turmeric supply and production. It is regarded as an important commercial crop in India. Major turmeric producing states in India are Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Assam, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh.
UAE, USA, Japan, UK, Iran, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and South Africa are major importers of Turmeric.
Turmeric suppliers based on Quality
Quality parameters of Turmeric are its yellow color and characteristic flavor. The yellow color of turmeric is because of the orange yellow pigment Curcumin. Curcumin content in turmeric varies from 2.5% to 8% depending on the variety of turmeric. Besides giving the yellow color to Turmeric, Curcumin is also known for its biological and medicinal properties. Curcumin has anticancer properties and is known to treat cardiovascular diseases.
Alleppey Turmeric is well known for its high Curcumin content of about 6.5%. Indian state of Kerala is the biggest Spice Wholesalers of Alleppey Turmeric. This turmeric has a deep yellow to orange-yellow color and particularly grows in Thoduphuzha and Muvattupuzha areas of central Kerala. USA is the biggest importer of Alleppey turmeric, which is exported from the Cochin port in India.
Madras Turmeric which is grown in Salem, Erode, and Coimbatore districts of Tamil Nadu, India, have Curcumin content of about 3.5% and are mustard yellow in color. UK and Europe are major importers of Madras Turmeric which is exported from the Madras and Tuticorin ports.
Chinese turmeric is also considered as high quality turmeric and poses a threat to the Indian turmeric. West Indian turmeric which is exported from Caribbean, Central and South American countries is smaller in size and has a dull yellowish brown color.
Different Forms of Turmeric
Turmeric is traded in the world markets in the following forms:
- 1. Turmeric Dried Rhizomes are the most traded form of Turmeric products. They are also used to produce other turmeric products such as turmeric powder, oil and oleoresin. Three major forms of dried rhizomes are turmeric fingers, bulbs and splits. Turmeric fingers have the highest prices amongst all three.
- 2. Turmeric Powder is mostly used in food industry as a coloring and flavoring agent. Turmeric rhizomes are grounded into smaller particle sizes to obtain Turmeric powder.
- 3. Turmeric Oil or the volatile oil of turmeric is responsible for the characteristic flavor of turmeric spice. It does not fetch high price and is used in confectionery products and aerated waters.
- 4. Turmeric Oleoresin contains coloring matter, volatile oil, fatty oil and bitter principles. It is obtained by solvent extraction of the ground turmeric spice. Curcumin content in turmeric oleoresin generally varies from 3.5% to 4.2%.
- 1. Turmeric rhizomes should be rough, hard and brittle.
- 2. They should have numerous encircling with ridge-like annulations.
- 3. The rhizomes should have good length and thickness.
- 4. The internal color of rhizomes should be deep yellow.
- 5. The endodermis in rhizomes which separates the cortex from the central cylinder should be clearly visible.
- 6. Aroma of the turmeric volatile oil should have a musky, pepper-like character.
- 7. Flavor of the volatile oil should be slightly aromatic and somewhat bitter.
Steps to evaluate the quality of Turmeric supplied
If you want to judge the quality of turmeric rhizomes, you can manually break them and judge the quality based on the broken surface and the break itself. If the break is not clean and is instead splintery or fibrous, it is indicative that the turmeric is of lower grade. Similarly if the broken surface is horny or resinous in appearance it also means that the turmeric is of inferior quality. A waxy broken surface is indicative of higher quality turmeric.
Enlisted below are some more points you should consider while evaluating the quality of Turmeric: