is a herb, and used as a spice, in
many foods from different cultures around the world.
The Cumin plant itself, Cuminum
cyminum, is an annual flowering plant that grows
natively in the Mediterranean area, and stretching over
to East India.
The cumin plant grows about 20 to 30 cm tall, and is
very slender with sparse branches. The leaves of the
cumin plant are about 8 cm long and
also slender. The flowers are small are either pink
or white in colour.
The fruit of the plant is what contains the seed. The
seed is the edible part of the cumin plant. The seed
itself is about 3 - 4 mm long.
Cumin seed can be used whole, or ground
into a powder. It is used to spice dishes native to
North Africa, the Middle East, India, Cuba, Mexico and
some parts of China.
History of Cumin
Cumin has been used as a spice or flavouring for foods
since ancient times. The earliest dated seeds went back
to the second millennium BC, at the site of Tell ed-Der
in Syria. Cumin has also been found
among egyptian ruins.
Ancient Greece and Rome used cumin very frequently.
Like pepper is today, cumin was kept
in it's own container on the tabletop. Both the Old
Testament and New Testament versions of the Bible mention
cumin. Cumin was later brought over to the America's
by colonists from Spain.