Latin Name: Cuminum cyminum
Common names: Cumin
Cumin is one of the ancient spices,
being referred to by Pliny the Elder as the spice to make a studious scholar. It was
said that if a student drank a tea made with Cumin, he would become pale and, therefore,
appear to have studied late into the night. Cumin was used by the Romans in place of
the more expensive, and sometimes unavailable, pepper. It was so abundant that
Christians used it as their tithe when they had no money.
The Saxons first used Cumin in more
culinary ways by spreading it on hens and peacocks before cooking.
Cumin comes from the seed of the
Cumin plant. The plant grows about 5-6" (15-18 cm) in height but can grow to a
foot (35 cm). This is because the white or purple bloom heads weigh down the stalk
of the plant. Native to the Mediterranean, Cumin will not grow in the US North; but
will grow well in the Gulf States and Pacific States as it needs a warm and moist climate.
Use in poultry, marinades and as a
subtle spice in salads
Comments from Your Host,
Cumin is truly a middle-eastern spice
with the musky overtones so common to the area. Used as an alternative to pepper, or
even curry, Cumin can be a very versatile addition to your spice rack.
Recipes using Cumin:
with Currants and Cumin
- Chicken and Beef
Scallops in a Cumin-Tomato Sauce
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