This spice comes from root of the Curcuma longa plant. The root has a tough brown skin and a deep orange flesh. Turmeric root has a peppery, warm and bitter taste while its fragrance is mild yet slightly reminiscent of orange and ginger, to which it is related. It also has a bit of a mustard-like smell.
Turmeric is native to Indonesia and southern India, where it has been harvested for more than 5,000 years. It is used extensively in South Asian cuisine and is the spice that gives curry its bright orange-yellow color.
Turmeric has been traditionally called Indian saffron since its deep yellow-orange color is similar to that of the prized saffron. It can be added to rice and give it the same color and a similar flavor.