The Spice Trader Cumin Seeds

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Cumin is a small annual herbaceous plant of the parsley and carrot family, and grows to a height of about 25 cm. Cumin grows best in regions with a sunny climate and some rainfall.

Native range  

Egypt, Eastern Mediterranean countries

Taste and aroma  

Cumin has a strong, spicy, sweet aroma. The taste is rich, slightly bitter, and warm. The pungency and taste are particularly noticeable in the ground spice.

Culinary uses  

Because of its strong flavour, ground cumin is popular in cuisines which are generally highly spiced such as many Indian, Middle Eastern, North African, and Mexican dishes. Cumin is an essential ingredient in curry powders and masalas. The aroma of cumin is enhanced if the seeds are dry roasted before they are ground.


Cumin seeds will keep their pungency for a year or more if stored in an airtight container, but ground cumin has a relatively short shelf life.