Cumin Seeds

Cumin Seeds

Cumin is a flowering plant that has been grown as a spice since ancient times. Cumin is a member of the Apiacea family and grown natively in the eastern Mediterranean region and east of India. The part of the planet used in cooking, the seed (or the fruit of the planet), is usually dried after picking, and can then be used whole or ground into a fine powder. Cumin’s distinctive flavour and strong warm aroma is due to its essential oil content.

The history of cumin goes back over 5000 years. Romans took ground seed medicinally with bread, water or wine. In the 13th and 14th centuries, it was much in use as a culinary spice. Classically, cumin symbolised greed, thus the avaricious Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, came to be known privately as ‘Cuminus’. In the Middle Ages, a time when spices were relatively rare, cumin was one of the most common spices. It was trought to promote love and fidelity, people carried it to weddings and walked around with it with their pockets. It was reputed to keep lovers, married soldiers were sent off to battle with a fresh baked loaf of cumin bread.

Description and Cultivation

Cumin is the seed of the plant Cumimum cyminum, it is an herbaceous plant, grows to 30-50 cm, with a slender branched stem 20-30 cm tall. The blue-green leaves are 5-10 cm long, divided into long, deep green colour narrow segments. The upper leaves are nearly stalkless, but the lower ones have longer leaf-stalks. The flowers are small, white or pink, and borne in umbels. The fruit is a lateral fusiform or ovoid achene 4-5 mm long. The seed come as paired or separate carpels, and are 3-6 mm long. They have a striped pattern of nine ridges and oil canals, and are hairy, brownish in colour, boat-shaped, tapering at each extremity , with tiny stalks attached. Cumin is grown from seed, cultivation of cumin requires a long, hot summer of 3-4 months, with daytime temperatures around 30°C and is mostly grown in Mediteranian climates. The plants bloom in June and July. The seeds are normally ready four months after planting.

Scientific Classification
Kingdom : Plantea
Division : Magnoliophyta
Class : Magnoliopsida
Order : Apiales
Family : Apiaceae
Genius : Cumimum
Species : Cumimum cyminum