Cumin Facts

Cumin Facts
Cumin is a type of flowering plant that belongs to the carrot family. It originates from Middle East and Mediterranean region. Cumin grows in tropic and sub-tropical climates, in areas characterized by long, hot summer. Cultivation of cumin started 2000 years BC. Ancient Egyptians used cumin for the process of mummification. This plant was very popular and valued in the past. It was even used as a currency for paying taxes. Cumin is the second (right after the black pepper) most popular spice in the world today. Besides as an ingredient of various dishes, cumin is often used as cure in folk medicine.
Interesting Cumin Facts:
Cumin is herbaceous plant that grows from 12 to 20 inches in height. It has slender, smooth stem that can be gray or green colored. Stem produces multiple branches that grow up to the same height.
Cumin has pinnate or bipinnate, elongated green leaves.
Cumin produces white or pink colored flowers. They are miniature and arranged in terminal inflorescence better known as umbel.
Cumin produces ovoid-shaped fruit called dry achene. Fruit is single-seeded.
Cumin seed are oblong-shaped and yellow-brown colored. They have eight ridges on the surface.
Cumin is propagated by seed. It has short vegetative season. Harvest usually takes place 120 days after planting.
Cumin seed have strong, warm, earthy aroma. They can be consumed whole or in the form of powder (ground cumin). Cumin is mostly used as flavoring agent for dishes made of meat and vegetables, and to improve taste of omelets, curries and soups.
Cumin is one of the basic ingredients of curry and chili powders.
Jira water is drink made of ground cumin. It is popular and often consumed beverage (especially during the summer) in the southern parts of India.
Many types of French bread and one type of Dutch cheese (called Leyden cheese) contain cumin seed.
Essential oils extracted from cumin have beneficial effect on the human health. They have anti-bacterial (kill bacteria), anti-tumor (prevent growth of tumor) and immunogenic (boost immune system) properties. Certain substances in the cumin stimulate secretion of saliva and activity of intestinal enzymes which all together facilitate digestion.
Cumin seed are used in treatment of poor appetite, heart disease, fever, diarrhea, vomiting and edema (among others) in India.
During the Medieval period, people believed that chickens and lovers will not run away as long as cumin is plentiful in the home. They also believed that cumin ensures happy marriage if newlyweds carry cumin during the wedding ceremony.
India is the largest manufacturer (70% of globally produced cumin) and the greatest consumer of cumin (Indians consume 90% of produced cumin). India produces around 175.000 tons of cumin annually.
Cumin is an annual plant, which means that it completes its life cycle in one year.

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