We are continuing our summer study of spices!
Cumin, a member of the parsley family, is an ancient herb that was used by the Egyptians in their cuisine and mummification. However, we still use cumin today. It is a flowering plant and we derive cumin from the seed inside the plant's fruit.
Mainly grown in China and India now, the spice is used in a variety of international cuisines. There are many health benefits associated with this fragrant herb including, a source of iron, a help to fight inflammation, and an aid to lower bad cholesterol.
You are probably most familiar with the taste in curries, but cumin is also a welcome addition to stews, soups and fish dishes. It is used in the whole seed form in many Middle Eastern dishes, although toasted first is best! Powdered cumin is what you most likely have in your cabinet and it is used in chili powders and garam masala. Both sweet and bitter at the same time, I really enjoy the flavor and boldness cumin adds to a recipe.