Cumin is the dried seed of the Cuminum cyminum plant, belonging to the parsley family. It is commonly used as a spice all over the world either in its whole seed form or as ground powder. Either way, cumin has the ability to add a unique, aromatic flavour to any dish. Its taste can be best described as warm and earthy.
Although it can be used on its own, cumin is commonly added in chili powder as well as other blends of spices such as a curry powder, garam masala, berbere, achiote blends, Baharat and adobos. Cumin comes in different varieties such as white cumin, black cumin, green cumin and brownish-yellow cumin, although the last is probably the most common variety found across the globe. The spice is often used as a flavouring agent in baked beans, BBQ sauce, chili as well as to marinate meat and fish.
Originally grown in the Middle East and Egypt in ancient times, cumin was used both as a spice as well as in the preservation of mummies. It was also extensively grown and used in India, Greece and Rome. It was only after colonization that South America countries were introduced to cumin.