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Cumin
Apiaceae
Cuminum cyminum


Thunder
Thunder
Type Categories Useful Parts

Herb


Apiaceae Family

Cuminum Genus
Other Names for this Plant

White Cumin, Cumin Blanc, Cumin du Maroc, Faux Anis (French), Kreuzkümmel, Kummel, Mutterkümmel, Römischer Kümmel, Weißer Kreuzkümmel (German). Cumino, Cumino Bianco (Italian), Comino, Comino Blanco (Spanish), Cuminum (Roman)


Location

Native to Upper Egypt, also native from the east Mediterranean to East India

Physical Description
Cumin seeds are actually the fruits of the plant. It is an herbaceous annual plant, with a slender branched sterm 20-30 cm tall. The leaves are 5-10 cm long, pinnate or bipinnate, thread-like leaflets. The flowers are small, white or pink, and borne in umbels. The fruit is a lateral fusiform or ovoid achene 4-5 mm long, containing a single seed. Cumin seeds are similar to fennel and anise seeds in appearance, but are smaller and darker in color.


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Apiaceae
Apiales
Apiales
Api Order (Carrot)
Euasterids II
Euasterids II
Real Stars Group Two
Asteridae
Asteridae
Class of Stars (Daisies)
Core Eudicots
Core Eudicots
Main, Real, Two First-Leaves (Dicots)
Eudicots
Eudicots
Real, Two First-Leaves (Dicots)
Mesangiospermae
Mesangiospermae
Half Capsule Seed Division
Magnoliophyta
Magnoliophyta
Magnolia Division
Spermatophytes
Spermatophytes
Seed Plants
Euphyllophytina
Real Land Plants
Polysporangiates
Multiple Spore Sub-Kingdom
Stomatophytes
Stomatophytes
Air Pores Sub-Kingdom
Embryophytes
Embryophytes
Multicellular Land Plants
Streptobionta
Streptobionta
Multicellular Plants
Plantae
Plantae
Plants
Eukaryota
Eukaryota
Cells with a Nucleus


General Information

Egyptians were growing it in 3000 BC. It is mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments (Isaiah 27. 25 and 27, and Matthew 23.23).

The Romans and Greeks used Cumin as a medicine and as a cosmetic (on the skin, it can make your skin pale). The Romans also used it for cooking, and introduced Cumin to Britain and Europe where it remained popular until the Middle Ages. The Roman food writer, Apicius, left behind a recipe for Pear Omelette (Patina de piris) that used Cumin. Antoninus Pius (Roman Emperor from 138 to 161 AD) earned the nickname "cumin seed splitter", as he was an old-fashioned Roman who believed in frugality and economizing. (Some food writers repeat each other's error of saying that the name was applied to his heir, Marcus Aurelius, because of his "avarice". But Aurelius's nickname was actually "The Philosopher", and anyone who has studied his life or read his works would dismiss that out of hand.)

Medicinal Uses: Cumin is said to help in treatment of the common cold, when added to hot milk and consumed.

Cumin tea is also believed to help induce labor in a woman who has gone post-dates with her pregnancy.

In Sri Lanka, toasting cumin seeds and then boiling them in water makes a tea used to soothe acute stomach problems.

Cumin is an aromatic, astringent herb that benefits the digestive system and acts as a stimulant to the sexual organs. It has been used in the treatment of minor digestive complaints, chest conditions and coughs, as a pain killer and to treat rotten teeth. Cumin is seldom used in Western herbal medicine, having been superseded by caraway which has similar properties but a more pleasant flavor. It is still widely used in India, however where it is said to promote the assimilation of other herbs and to improve liver function.

Food Uses: Cumin is a part of almost every chili powder mix. It is also a part of Indian spice mixtures such as Garam Masala, Panch Phoron and Sambar Podi. In India, the seeds are usually heated before using to wake up the flavour.

Cumin can be found in some Dutch chesses like Leyden cheese, and in some traditional breads from France. It is also commonly used in traditional Brazilian cuisine.

Cumin can be used to season many dishes, as it draws out their natural sweetnesses. It is traditionally added to curries, enchiladas, tacos, and other Middle-Eastern, Indian, Cuban and Mexican-style foods. It can also be added to salsa to give it extra flavour. Cumin has also been used on meat in addition to other common seasonings. The spice is a familiar taste in Tex-Mex dishes and is extensively used in the cuisines of the Indian subcontinent. Cumin was also used heavily in ancient Roman cuisine.

Other Notes: Cumin seeds have been found in some ancient Syrian archeological sites. Cumin found its way from Syria to neighbouring Turkey and nearby Greece most likely before it found its way to Spain

Superstition during the Middle Ages cited that cumin kept chickens and lovers from wandering. It was also believed that a happy life awaited the bride and groom who carried cumin seed throughout the wedding ceremony.

Cumin also symbolized cupidity among the Greeks: Marcus Aurelius was so nicknamed because of his avarice, and misers were jocularly said to have eaten Cumin. this herb was connected to greed and stinginess.

The Pharisees paid their taxes with it and in the Middle Ages, feudal lords paid serfs with cumin for services rendered.

Cultivation: Cultivation of cumin requires a long, hot summer of 3-4 months, with daytime temperatures around 30°C (86°F); it is drought tolerant, and is mostly grown in mediterranean climates

Propagation: It is grown from seed, sown in spring, and needs fertile, well-drained soil.

Seed - sow early spring in individual pots in a greenhouse. Grow the plants on fast, and plant them out after the last expected frosts. Give the plants some temporary protection such as a cloche for their first few weeks in the open ground to make sure that they keep on growing in the cooler weather of early summer

Companion Planting: The cultivated plants in this category are almost all considered good compaion plants, as the umbrella of tiny flowers attracts omnivorous beneficial insects, especially parasitic wasps and predatory flies, which then will hunt insect pests on nearby crops.

Good planted near beets, all the cabbage family, cucumbers, potatoes

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Recipe: Garam Masala Spice Blend

This potent Indian spice blend can be used in a variety of Indian dishes calling for garam masala spice or “hot spice blend.” It is most often used in meat and vegetable dishes served with rice, so find your favorite Indian recipe and get cooking!

4 whole cinnamon sticks

4 whole cloves

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon cardamom

7 whole peppercorns

1 bayleaf

Roast all ingredients lightly on a skillet until fragrant and aromatic.

Place roasted ingredients in a coffee grinder and blend to a fine powder (or, to yield more flavorful results, pound and grind by hand with a mortar and pestle). Store powder in airtight container.





Cumin
Koehlers Medicinal-Plants 1887 [Image in Public Domain]

Comment: Cumin, Cuminum cyminum

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