Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is indispensable in the kitchen and easily grown in a frost free climate. The tasty leaves and rhizomes and edible flowers are useful for flavouring and colouring food. In some countries, turmeric is used to help manage post traumatic stress disorder. After gardening in the heat and humidity of a Brisbane summer’s day, I find turmeric tea, a Javanese speciality, very refreshing. Some years ago, an Indonesian friend said “Drinking turmeric daily reduces body odour, helps keep you healthy and may prevent cancer”. Another favourite use I have for turmeric is making sfouf, aka turmeric cake, a delicious Middle Eastern recipe.
Edible flowers have a long history of being grown for making dyes for food and fabrics, or as decorations for cakes, salads and garnishes. What’s surprising is how many commonly grown flowers are edible.
If subtropical gardeners sow seed of ‘Johnny Jump Up’ this week, they will be flowering just in time for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on 15th June 2014.