Turmeric leaves are small to medium in size and are oblong or lanceolate in shape, averaging 80-115 centimeters in length and 30-48 centimeters in width. The smooth, light green leaves sprout from an erect, thick green stem that is connected to a golden root. Turmeric leaves have a neutral aroma when fresh and once they are cut, pounded, or chewed, they release a distinctive tart flavor with notes of grass and mint. When cooked, Turmeric leaves impart a floral, pungent, and gingery flavor with slightly bitter undertones.
Fresh Turmeric leaves are available in the spring through fall, while dried Turmeric leaves are available year-round.
Turmeric leaves, botanically classified as Curcuma longa, grow on a perennial herbaceous plant that can reach up to one meter in height and are members of the Zingiberaceae, or ginger family. Although the turmeric plant is widely known for its edible roots, all parts of the plant including the leaves and flowers can be consumed. Also known as Haldi leaves and Manjal leaves, Turmeric leaves are widely used in India, which is one of the largest producers of the plant in the world and are mostly found along the coastal regions. Turmeric leaves are commonly used in curries in the regions of Goa and Kerala, India, and are often added to ghee-based sweets or pickled for later use.
Turmeric leaves contain curcumin, which is a powerful antioxidant.