Cumin Seeds

Cumin is the dried seed of a herbaceous plant which is a member of the parsley family. The cumin plant grows to 30–50 cm and is harvested by hand. Harvesting is done about 4 months after planting when the plant begins to wither. The color of seeds changes from dark green to a brown-yellow color.  There are 9 longitudinal ridges on the small, boat shaped seeds. For harvesting, plant is rooted from the soil. The plants are than sun dried. The dried plants are than threshed with sticks. This separates seed from the plants. The seeds are than sun dried till their moisture content comes to 10% level. The dried seeds are to remove the dirt, dust, leaves and twigs. The harvesting season is from February to March.


It is a native of the Eastern Mediterranean countries and Upper Egypt, but is now cultivated in Morocco, Iran, Turkey, India, China and the Americas. India is the largest producer of cumin seeds, with 70-75% of the total production of cumin in the world. Within India, Rajasthan and Gujarat are the major cumin producing states.

The distinct aroma of cumin is due to its essential oil component – cuminaldehyde. The seeds are used both as whole seeds and powder form. There are mainly two types of cumin – white and black. White seeds are more prevalent and black seeds are more common in Iran.

Buying Tips:

  1. Like all other aromatic spices, cumin should also be purchased as whole seeds.
  2. Look for discoloration and any signs for fungal growth.
  3. Take few seeds and smell and taste them. If there are any off flavors than do not purchase.

Storage:

  1. The seeds should be stored in cool, dry place.
  2. Place the seeds in an air tight container.
  3. Powder should also be stored in air tight container.
  4. It is better to store cumin powder in refrigerator.

Culinary Uses:
Cumin is a regular spice of Indian cuisine.

  1. Seeds are used in all curries.
  2. Cumin is used to flavor various rice preparations such as ‘Jeera Rice’.
  3. Roasted and powdered cumin is used to flavor various beverages such as buttermilk and curd preparations such as ‘raita’.
  4. It is an ingredient of various spice mixes.
  5. It is used in various homemade chutneys.
  6. ‘Jal Jeera’ is a refreshing drink made of cumin and tamarind. It is used to beat the heat in summers.
  7. It is used in various pickles.
  8. Portuguese, Mexican and Spanish cuisine also find uses of cumin.
  9. It is used in preparation of Sauerkraut- a fermented preparation of cabbage.
  10. Cumin is used to prepare a famous German liquor – Kummel.

Medicinal Cuisine:

  1. Cumin seeds support digestion.
  2. It gives relief  in indigestion.
  3. It purifies blood
  4. It has anti-inflammatory properties.
  5. Increases milk production in lactating mothers
  6. It  reduces itching.
  7. It acts as a diuretic.

Home Remedies:

  1. Regular use of water boiled with cumin powder supports milk production in lactating mothers. It also reduces inflammation of the uterus.
  2. Soak 2 tsp. of cumin seeds in 2 glasses of water. Boil the water till it remains half. Strain the solution. Let it cool down. Regular use of this decoction, empty stomach, reduces edema.
  3. Roast cumin seeds. Grind them with rock salt. Massage gums with this mixture. It prevents bleeding of the gums.
  4. Consuming powdered cumin with honey reduces colic pain and reduces diarrhea caused due to indigestion.
  5. A tea prepared by boiling cumin seeds and a small piece of fresh ginger help to give relief in common cold.
  6. Mix a spoon of ground roasted cumin seeds ,½ spoon of fresh ginger juice and a pinch of salt in a glass of butter milk. Frequent consumption of this butter milk helps to relieve piles and sooths inflamed intestine.

Dietary Facts:
Cumin seeds are a rich source of various minerals such as iron, potassium, calcium and magnesium.It is also a good source of fiber. It also provides moderate amounts of Vitamin A and C which imparts the spice some antioxidant properties.

Cumin is good for use by hypertensives and diabetics. Regular use helps in curing digestive imbalances.

Roasting the spice imparts it a distinctive and refreshing aroma. Roasting needs to be done carefully otherwise a the aroma and taste become unpleasant. The cumin seeds are second most popular spice after pepper and should be part of our daily diet.

Nutrition Facts
Servings Size 100g
Total Fat 74%
Sodium 1788 mg
Potassium 68 mg
Total Carbohydrate 44.24g
Dietary Fiber 10.5g
Protein 17.8g
Vitamin A 1270 IU
Vitamin C 7.7mg
Iron 66.36mg
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because it has not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

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