Thursday, October 6, 2011

Cumin Cultivation

Cumin  is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae, native from the east Mediterranean to India. Its seeds, in both whole and ground form, are used in the cuisines of many different cultures.

Originally cumin is from western Asia, where it is cultivated since Biblical times . Main production countries today are India, Iran, Indonesia, China and the South Mediterranean.

Scientific classification

Kingdom         :   Plantae
(unranked)      :   Angiosperms 
(unranked)      :   Eudicots
(unranked)      :   Asterids
Order             :   Apiales
Family             :   Apiaceae
Genus             :   Cuminum
Species           :   C. cyminum
Binomial name : Cuminum cyminum

The English "cumin" derives from the Old English cymen (or Old French cumin), from Latin cuminum, which is the latinisation of the Greek κύμινον (kuminon), cognate with Hebrew kammon and Arabic kammun. Forms of this word are attested in several ancient Semitic languages, including kamūnu in Akkadian. The ultimate source is the Sumerian word gamun. The earliest attested form of the word κύμινον (kuminon) is the Mycenaean Greek ku-mi-no, written in Linear B syllabic script.
cumin seeds

min is the dried seed of the herb Cuminum cyminum, a member of the parsley family. The cumin plant grows to 30–50 cm (0.98–1.6 ft) tall and is harvested by hand. It is an herbaceous annual plant, with a slender branched stem 20–30 cm tall. The leaves are 5–10 cm long, pinnate or bipinnate, thread-like leaflets. The flowers are small, white or pink, and borne in umbels. The fruit is a lateral fusiform or ovoid achene 4–5 mm long, containing a single seed. Cumin seeds resemble caraway seeds, being oblong in shape, longitudinally ridged, and yellow-brown in color, like other members of the Umbelliferae family such as caraway, parsley and dill.
cumin field

Cumin has been in use since ancient times. Seeds excavated at the Syrian site Tell ed-Der have been dated to the second millennium BC. They have also been reported from several New Kingdom levels of ancient Egyptian archaeological sites.

Originally cultivated in Iran and Mediterranean region, cumin is mentioned in the Bible in both the Old
cumin seeds

Testament  and the New Testament . It was also known in ancient Greece and Rome. The Greeks kept cumin at the dining table in its own container , and this practice continues in Morocco. Cumin fell out of favour in Europe, except in Spain and Malta, during the Middle Ages. It was introduced to the Americas by Spanish and Portuguese colonists. There several different types of cumin but the most famous ones are black and green cumin which they both used in Persian cuisine.

It has since returned to favour in parts of Europe. Today, it is mostly grown in Iran, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Morocco, Egypt, India, Syria, Mexico, and Chile. The plant occurs as a rare casual in the British
cumin plant

Isles, mainly in southern England, but the frequency of its occurrence has declined greatly. According to the Botanical Society of the British Isles' most recent Atlas, there has been only one confirmed record since 2000.

Cultivation

Cultivation of cumin requires a long, hot summer of 3–4 months, with daytime temperatures around 30 °C (86
cumin powder

°F); it is drought-tolerant, and is mostly grown in Mediterranean climates. It is grown from seed, sown in spring, and needs fertile, well-drained soil.

Uses

Cumin is the second most popular spice in the world after black pepper. Cumin seeds are used as a spice for their distinctive aroma, popular in Nepalese, Indian, Pakistani, North African, Middle
cumin powder

Eastern, Sri Lankan, Cuban, northern Mexican cuisines, central Asian Uzbek cuisine, and the western Chinese cuisines of Sichuan and Xinjiang. Cumin can be found in some Dutch cheeses, such as Leyden cheese, and in some traditional breads from France. It is commonly used in traditional Brazilian cuisine. Cumin can be an ingredient in chili powder , and is found in achiote blends, adobos, sofrito, garam masala, curry powder, and bahaarat.
cumin seeds

Cumin can be used ground or as whole seeds. Cumin was also used heavily in ancient Roman cuisine. It helps to add an earthy and warming feeling to cooking, making it a staple in certain stews and soups, as well as curries and chilli.

Nutritional value

Although cumin seeds contain a relatively large percentage of iron, extremely large quantities of cumin would need to be consumed for it to serve as a significant dietary source .

Confusion with other spices

Cumin is hotter to the taste, lighter in color, and larger than caraway (Carum carvi), another umbelliferous spice with which it is sometimes confused. Many European languages do not distinguish clearly between the two.
cumin seeds
caraway seeds

The distantly related Bunium persicum and the unrelated Nigella sativa are both sometimes called black cumin

Aroma profile

Cumin's distinctive flavour and strong, warm aroma is due to its essential oil content. Its main constituent and important aroma compound is cuminaldehyde (4-isopropylbenzaldehyde). Important aroma compounds of toasted cumin are the substituted pyrazines, 2-ethoxy-3-isopropylpyrazine, 2-methoxy-3-sec-butylpyrazine, and 2-methoxy-3-methylpyrazine.


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