Cumin is a flowering plant. It is from the family of Apiaceae, which is the native plant of Middle Eastern and Indian territory. This spice belongs to the parsley family of spices, including carrots, fennel, and celery. It is considered a highly used and versatile form of spice. Cumin is used in almost every traditional cuisine around the world. You can find both the whole seeds and powdered form of this plant.
The use of Cumin can be traced back to ancient times. Its use started from the Roman and Greek times. At first, it was introduced as medicine by therapeutic doctors. They used it to cure and relieve pain. But eventually, people started using it as a spice in their culinary and baked cuisines and drinks. That’s why today, Cumin is used in a wide range of cuisines from Mexican to Portuguese. Besides, Cumin is grown in various regions, including India, Mexico, and China, which are considered the top exporters.
What does Cumin Look Like?
As stated above, the seeds and ground form have different looks. Cumin seeds have a high resemblance to caraway. That’s why people mostly confuse between both. However, Cumin is a little longer than caraway. This spice has a boat-like shape. It has a brownish-yellow color. But it also has some other varieties which come in different colors like green cumin, white cumin, and green cumin. While its ground form is a little different. Though it has the same color, it comes in a powdered form that looks like the ground form of cardamom.
Where does Cumin Come From?
Cumin comes from the Cuminum Cyminum plant that belongs to the parsley family. The seed normally grows at the height of 30 cm to 50 cm. The plant has glabrous, slender, and branched stems. The stems are about 20 cm to 30 cm tall with a diameter of 3 cm to 5 cm. Each branch comes with three subbranches. Its branches have the same height. Besides, all branches have the same height, which makes the plant a uniform canopy. Each stem has either dark green or grey color. The leaves in this plant have leaflets. While it also has small flowers attached at the top of stems. These flowers come in either pink or white color.
How is Cumin Made?
The process of making Cumin starts with its plant. Once the plant grows and reaches the harvesting stage, then you can pick the seeds. Cumin seeds can only be picked by hand. Cut the stems gently. Ensure not to rush because the seeds can easily fall off, and you should not waste the seeds. Once you cut them, take any bag, put the stems in it, and then shake them until the seeds come out. Then you can separate the stems and seeds. The whole form of Cumin seeds is ready for use. However, for the powder form, you must use any grinder to grind the seeds.
What Does Cumin Taste Like?
Cumin has a little earthy flavor. It has a warm taste with a great combination of bitterness and sweetness. Its sharp and zesty taste resembles the taste of carrot skin or parsley.
How is Cumin Used in Cooking?
How Cumin is used depends upon its type. If you are using whole seeds, then make sure to include them early in the recipe. It will allow the spice to release aroma and flavor. Besides, if you add it in hot oil or broth, then it will lose its essence. And if you are using the ground form, then you can mix it with other spices and use it with them, including garam masala, chili powder, and salt, etc.
What Types of Cuisines Use Cumin?
Both ground and whole cumin are used in a wide range of cuisines. It is an important ingredient in Indian and Mexican cuisines, while it is also used in many other cuisines. You can use this spice in meat, slow-cooked items like soup, and vegetables, etc. For example, cumin is used in Indian Cumin rice, Middle Eastern falafel, cauliflower soup, cumin chicken, cumin yogurt sauce, sandwiches, etc.
What is a Cumin Substitute?
If you are out of Cumin, then you can use caraway seeds, ground coriander, chili powder, taco seasoning, curry powder, garam masala, paprika, and fennel seeds to substitute it.
Where to Buy Cumin?
You can buy Cumin online or in any grocery store. However, here we will provide the list of some best and high-quality Cumin in both whole seeds and ground form. These products have great flavor and aroma.