What is cumin?

Cumin is a spice made from the  dried seed of a plant known as flowering plant in the family Apiaceae, called the Cuminum cyminum. It is also a member of the parsley family.

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The plant is native to southwestern Asia including the Middle East. The seeds, found within the fruit, are dried and sold as the spice you use at home.

Yes, cumin is actually a seed harvested from the annual plant. Cumin seeds are small, oval and boat-shaped. The are sometimes mistaken for caraway seeds even though the two have vastly different flavor profiles.

It used in a wide range of cuisines from Middle Eastern to American.

What does cumin taste like?

Cumin can be described as bitter and sweet. I’m sure that doesn’t help you at all! Others say it is earthy and nutty. A lot depends on what cuisine you are using it in and also if you use the whole seed or ground cumin, also known as cumin powder.

Easy fish taco recipe full of flavor with pico de gallo, shredded cabbage, avocado, queso fresco and a special homemade hot sauce. #fishtacorecipe #bestfishtacos
Best Fish Tacos

To enhance the flavor of cumin seeds or ground cumin, lightly toast it in a dry pan before using. This helps to dry it and release natural oil making the flavor deepen and fragrance come out.

It used primarily in savory recipes.

What are the healthy benefits of cumin?

Cumin has long since been used in holistic medicine. Some of the believed health benefits include:

  • Improved digestion
  • Linked with lowered cholesterol
  • Rich in iron
  • Associated with healthy weight
  • May prevent food borne illness
  • Reduces inflammation
Baked Chicken Enchiladas with a dollop of sour cream in a baking dish
Baked Chicken Enchiladas

What is a good substitute for cumin?

  • Caraway seeds (substitute 1/2 of what the recipe calls for- ground or whole)
  • Chili powder (if you are looking for heat)
  • Ground coriander (if recipes calls for ground cumin- substitute 1/2 of what the recipe calls for)
  • Garam masala

Is cumin the same as black cumin seed oil?

No, they actually aren’t related at all. Black cumin seed oil comes from the fennel plant and is used for beauty treatments like hydrating skin.

Recipes that use Cumin:

Ancho Citrus Salmon Recipe - a base of orange juice concentrate, lemon, ancho chili powder and a drip of honey.
Baked Salmon Recipe
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