After black pepper, cumin is the most-used spice on earth, however it is only now becoming popular in the United States. Cumin is a popular ingredient in Middle Eastern, Asian, Indian, Mediterranean and Mexican people have enjoyed cumin, (cumino) for centuries. It has a complicated flavor, and it’s possible to be turned off by it before deciding you like it. Cumin’s taste is strong, toasty and nutty. Add earthiness and muskiness to this, as well. It’s not a bit player.
Originally cultivated in Iran and Mediterranean region, cumin is mentioned in the Bible, was found in Egyptian pyramids and popular in ancient Greece and Rome. The Greeks kept cumin shakers on their dining tables. Moroccans still do. Today, major cumin growers are in Egypt, Iran, India and Morocco.
Rich in iron, it’s medicinal benefits are not realized without consuming large amounts. Its curative powers extend from organic, digestive, muscular, anti-cancer to anti-bacterial. However, there is no clinical evidence to support these claims.
How to store: Store cumin in an airtight container and place in a dry, cool area, away from light. Flavor and aroma are at their best for about six months. This spice should be used sparingly, because it can overtake other flavors. A full teaspoonful will over-flavor a meal for four people.
- Works well ground with other spices.
- Cumin’s seeds are tiny and work well whole.
- If toasting, remove from pan immediately as tiny seeds burn quickly.
- Savory, matches well with: eggs, beans, chicken, couscous, curry, eggplant, fish, lamb, lentils, peas, pork, potatoes, rice, sausages, soups, stews, pickles, cheeses, chutneys, pastas, pilafs,
- Especially good in eggs, pea soup, chiles, salsas, lamb and beans.
- Add at end of cooking.
- Infuses oil well for flavorful sautéing.
Cumin recipes from Allrecipes.com.