- Botanical name : Cuminum cyminum L.
- Family name : Apiaceae
- Commercial part : Fruit
Cumin is the dried, white fruit with greyish brown colour of a small slender annual herb. The surface of the fruit has 5 primary ridges, alternatively has 4 less distinct secondary ridges bearing numerous short hairs. The plant is 15 to 50 cm high. The aromatic seed like fruit is elongated, ovoid, 3 to 6 mm long, slightly bitter and has a warm flavour. The flowers are white or rose coloured in small umbels.
Cumin is native to the Levant and Upper Egypt. It now grows in most hot countries especially India, North Africa, China and the Americas. The spice is specially associated with Morocco, where it is often smelt in the abundant street cookery of the medinas. Cumin was known to the Egyptians five meillenia ago; the seeds have been found in the Old kingdon Pyramids. The Romans and the Greeks used it medicinally and cosmetically to induce a pallid complexion. In Indian recipe, cumin is frequently confused with caraway, which it resembles in appearance though not in Taste, cumin being far more powerful.
Cumin is used mainly where highly spiced foods are preferred. It is an ingradient of most curry powders and many savoury spice mixtures, and is used in stews, grills-especially lamb and chicken dishes. It gives bite to plain rice, and to beans and cakes. Small amounts can be usefully used in aubergine and kidney bean dishes. Cumin is essential in spicy Mexican foods such as chile con carne, casseroled pork and enchiladas and kidney bean dishes. In middle east, it is a familiar spice for fish dishes, grills, stews and flavours couscous-semolina steamed over meat and Vegetables, national dish of Morocco.
A small slender glabrous herbaceous annual, of the parsley family. It usually reaches 25 cm (some varieties can be double this height) and tends to droop under its own weight. The blue-green Finest Grains -Cumin Seeds linear leaves are finely divided, and the white or pink flowers are borne in small compound Umbels.
A hot climate is preferred, but it can be grown in cooler regions if started under glass in spring. A sandy soil is best; when the seedlings have hardened, transplant carefully to a sunny aspect, planting out 15 cms apart. The plants bloom in January - February. The seeds are normally ready four months after planting. Cut the plants when the seeds turn to brown, thresh and dry like the other Umbelliferae.