Ingredient: Whole organic Cumin Seed (Cuminum cyminum)
Cuminum cyminum is an annual herb that grows to be about a foot tall and is native to China, Mexico, India, and the Mediterranean. Its seeds are yellow-brown in color and they are harvested by hand. White or pink flowers blossom on the cumin plant during its three to four-month growing period during the hot summers. The small, flat seeds provide a peppery flavor that is used in Mexican dishes, as well as in combination with curry in Indian and Middle Eastern food. Some southern Chinese cooks use cumin to give unique flavors to their dishes. Cumin is similar to caraway, coming from the same family of herbs, but has a stronger and coarser flavor and texture.
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It's always best to use whole cumin seeds that you grind with a mortar and pestle, but cumin powder is more convenient though it loses its flavor faster than whole seeds. Whole seeds will keep for a year when stored in a cool, dark place, while powder should be used within six months. For enhanced flavor, you may roast cumin seeds before using them.
Boil some cumin seeds in water and steep for eight to ten minutes for a soothing tea. Sauté vegetables and toss with cumin powder for a tasty vegetarian dish. Cumin is great sprinkled on rice and beans to give extra flavor. In Eastern cultures, cumin is mixed with black pepper and honey. This combination is also tasty when put on fish, chicken, and vegetables.