Have you ever heard of a plant called Cuminum Cyminum?
This plant is commonly called cumin. It is a flowering plant which belongs to the family of Apiaceae. This famous plant is native to the warm and sultry regions of the Mediterranean.
As an herbaceous annual plant, this flowering organism grows only on certain times within the year. It has a slender branched stem which grows as tall as 20 to 30 centimeters. The leaves of this plant is either pinnate or bi pinnate. It has thread like leaflets and can grow from five to ten centimeters long. The pink or white flowers it produces are borne in umbels. The laterally compressed cumin fruit on the other hand is called an ovoid achene. This grows within the four to five millimeter range. Each fruit contains one seed which are similar to those of fennel. However, they are smaller in size and darker in color.
This plant has been grown for culinary purposes since time immemorial. Even the bible attests to this story when it was mentioned in the books of Isaiah and Matthew. Cumin is a spice loved by people from all over the world. Even the Greeks of the ancient times showed special interest in this wonder plant, compared to all other herbs and spices they use for cooking and dining. Then, cumin was placed in a separate container. It was placed on the center of the table to make sure that everyone eating has access to this decadent ingredient.
Cumin comes from a plant which is a member of the parsley family, another forerunner in most major kitchens of the world. It’s most common use is as an ingredient in the creation of chili and curry powder. Such powders are crucial in the completion of major kinds of dishes all over the world. Some nationalities which have very reliant dishes on this ingredient are the Mexican, Vietnamese and Indian cuisines. It is also a perfect ingredient which is found in achiote blends, adobos, garam masala, curry powder and baharat.
The taste of cumin is so legendary that it even gave birth to some legends which really elevate its culinary status. During the middle ages, rumor has it that that the taste and scent of cumin have kept chickens and lovers under control. Its taste was so indulgent that people fell under its culinary spell. Even the brides and grows were ordered to carry these spices as they walk down the aisle. Legend has it that holding a cumin seed while getting married is the key to a happy married life. Many cultures still believe these tales until now.
Cumin’s flavor and odor is largely dependent on the essential oil carried by the plant. This mitochondrion of taste is what you may call cuminaldehyde. It is also glazed with natural dirocuminaldehyde to further boos the spice’s ethereal taste. d1-pinene, dipinene, para-cymene, -pinene, dipentene, and cuminyl alcohol are other components of this herb.
When dried, the seed of cumin shrinks down with just the best parts of it left inside. Its dried seed has 2.5 to 5 % oil on a basis of dried weight. The oil is obtained and maintained through the process of steam distillation. Once dried, the seeds of cumin begin to go brittle. Such brittleness must then be used. To make the most out of the brittle seeds, the cumin must then be crushed and mixed with curry pastes and other ingredients. This helps it release its tasty oils for the whole world to enjoy.
This amazing herb is responsible in the creation of the most flavorful cheeses and pickles. Certain amounts of this plant also make it the key ingredients of some soups and stews. Since the aroma of cumin is undeniably enticing, it is often used as stuffing for fish, chicken, meat pies and turkey. Once baked or roasted, the scent of cumin, together with its flavor will make the dishes more enticing. Having this in your dish will give your guests a “foodgasm” of a lifetime. That is the promise of this hot and spicy herb.
A famous variant of cumin would be its black counterpart. The black cumin seed is smaller than the regular ones. However, it taste makes up for the size it lacks. The flavorful taste of black cumin has made it a staple on almost all Mediterranean dishes. When used as a seasoning, black cumin transforms even the plainest of foods to something extraordinarily spectacular.
Cumin is not only used for culinary purposes as well. It also has some medicinal properties which can heal or prevent certain types of diseases. The antibacterial qualities of the cumin plant also make it perfect for the health of people. It is perfect for the cleansing of the gastrointestinal tract. With ample amounts of cumin in regular dishes, certain cancers and other diseases can be as good as gone. Such phototoxic characteristics have even been discovered in undiluted cumin oil.
Although cumin is relatively popular compared to most other spices, it still suffers from mistaken identity. The spicy, sultry and outstanding taste of cumin makes it mistaken for yet another popular seasoning… the caraway. Unlike caraway, cumin is actually hotter and spicier. It comes with a lighter color and is way bigger than caraway. As of now, most cumin herbs are labeled obviously to prevent these kinds of mistakes from happening. The labeling is made so specific that you can now tell at a glance if it is Middle Easter, Iranian or Indian cumin you are buying. All of these three have individually distinct tastes and odor.
Now that you know more about cumin than anyone else, its time for you to test your skills in the kitchen start cooking up with cumin now and experience a sultry kind of culinary delight at once. This hot and scrumptious herb will surely help you whip up food which will get quite a following from your friends, family and guests. Cooking with cumin is indeed the only way to go.
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Recipes using McCormick Ground Cumin
Recipes using Tones Ground Cumin
Where to Buy Cumin
McCormick Ground Cumin
Tones Ground Cumin