The dried seed spice of a flowering herb native to the Mediterranean and Indian Subcontinent. Cumin is commonly used in Indian and Latin American cooking, either whole or ground. It is the second most popular spice after black pepper.

It is used to make adobos, sofrito, garam masala, curry powder, and bahaarat dishes.

It is well known for its medicinal properties in India and many other Asian countries. A native of the land of Mediterranean, Jeera is now grown mainly in India, Egypt, Syria, Turkey, China and parts of America. A speed spice, Jeera is grown mainly in hot climatic conditions. Cumin was popular in ancient Roman cuisine.

India is the largest producer and consumer of Jeera in the world. Indian output is currently estimated to be around 200,000 ton per year. Cumin seeds resemble caraway seeds, being oblong in shape, longitudinally ridged, and yellow-brown in color. This is not surprising as both cumin and caraway, as well as parsley and dill, belong to the same plant family (Umbelliferae).


Other names: Římský Kmín, Cumin Seed, জিরা, Jeera, ज़ीरा, சீரகம், జీలకర్ర, Cummin
Translations: Ķimenes, Kmynas, Chimion, Kim, Cây thì là, Kminek, Komijn, जीरा, Cominho, Тмин, Κύμινο, كمون, 커민, Kmín, Ким, Kumin, 小茴香, Comino, Kumina, Rasca, Cumino, כמון, Kummin, Jinten, クミン, Kreuzkümmel, Spidskommen, Spisskummen, Comino, Кмин, Kumina, Кимион

Physical Description

Cumin seeds are oblong shaped, ridged, and yellow brown in color

Colors: Yellow-brown

Tasting Notes

Flavors: Spicy, hot
Mouthfeel: Nutty, Peppery
Food complements: Chili, Enchiladas, Ground meat
Wine complements: Red wine
Beverage complements: Beer
Substitutes: Caraway

Selecting and Buying

Peak: june, july, august, september
Choosing: Buy whole cumin seeds instead of powdered, because the ground cumin quickly loses its flavor
Buying: Cumin seeds are now widely available in supermarkets or in local spice stores.

Preparation and Use

Cumin seeds can be used whole or ground and are traditionally added to chilies and curries. Lightly roasting the cumin seeds before using them, helps bring out the fullness of it's aroma and flavor.

Conserving and Storing

Cumin seeds should be kept in an airtight glass container, in a cool dry place. Whole cumin seeds can stay fresh for a year.


In the Bible Cumin was used as a currency to pay tithes to priests

History: Cumin has been in use since ancient times and have been found in some ancient Egyptian archaeological sites.



Related Cooking Videos