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Cumin ThumbnailCumin 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.

Nutritional Information for Cumin

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 375 kcal (1,567 kJ)    
Carbohydrates   44.24 g
- Sugars   2.25 g
- Dietary fibre   10.5 g
Fat   22.27 g
- Saturated   1.535 g
Protein   17.81 g
Water   8.06 g
    % of Daily
Vitamin A equiv. 64 µg 7%
Riboflavin (Vit. B2) 0.327 mg 22%
Niacin (Vit. B3) 4.579 mg 31%
Vitamin B6 0.435 mg 33%
Folate (Vit. B9) 10 µg 3%
Vitamin B12 0 µg 0%
Vitamin C 7.7 mg 13%
Vitamin E 3.33 mg 22%
Vitamin K 5.4 µg 5%
Calcium 931 mg 93%
Iron 66.36 mg 531%
Magnesium 366 mg 99%
Phosphorus 499 mg 71%
Potassium 1788 mg 38%
Sodium 168 mg 7%
Zinc 4.8 mg 48%
Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.


Also check out the Cumin Classification, and Cumin Pictures.

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