Cumin Seed Powder Profile
Also known as
cyminum, Should not be confused with black cumin, the Chinese medicinal
herb, or sweet cumin, better known as fennel, or caraway.
is the seed of a small plant in the parsley family. Its use goes back
5000 years to the Egyptians, who used it not only as a spice but as an
ingredient in the mummification process. The Greeks and Romans also
used cumin and highly regarded it as one of the essential spices. In
the Middle Ages cumin seed was thought to promote love and fidelity, so
it was carried by attendees of weddings, and solders were always sent
off to battle with a fresh loaf of cumin seed bread. Pungent, sharp,
and slightly sweet, the greenish brown powder of this herb is an
essential ingredient in Mexican and Indian cuisine.
contains 2.5 to 4% essential oil. In the essential oil, cumin aldehyde
(p-isopropyl-benzaldehyde , 25 to 35%) is dominant, but there are also
perilla aldehyde, cumin alcohol, a- and b-pinene (21%), dipentene,
p-cymene and b-phellandrene. In toasted cumin fruits, a large number of
pyrazines are known to serve as flavor compounds. Alkyl derivatives
(particularly, 2,5- and 2,6-dimethyl pyrazine),
2-alkoxy-3-alkylpyrazines seem to be the key compounds
(2-ethoxy-3-isopropyl pyrazine, 2-methoxy-3-sec-butyl pyrazine,
2-methoxy-3-methyl pyrazine). Also a sulfur compound,
2-methylthio-3-isopropyl pyrazine, was found. These compounds are also
found in toasted (but not fresh) fennel or coriander seed.
The fruits ("seeds"), whole or ground, fresh or toasted.
Most often used in cooking, can be added to other herbs in teas, tinctures, or encapsulations.
traditional herbal medicine, cumin is used as a diuretic and to treat
stomach upset and flatulence. It is thought to promote a healthy
digestive system. Cumin stimulates menstruation, and also can be added
to gargles to treat laryngitis. Poultices of cumin are used to treat
swellings of the breasts or testicles. In Ayurvedic medicine, cumin
with ghee is smoked to relieve hiccups. According to the Bible, cumin
was so valuable that it could be used in the place of money when it
came time to tithe in church.
cumin should be kept in an air-tight container. Add to cooking in
moderation; the pungency of cumin can overwhelm other flavors in a
dish. Be forewarned that cumin stimulates the appetite and may increase
lactation in nursing mothers.
This product was added to our catalog on Wednesday 28 October, 2009.