Cumin (Cuminum cyminum) is probably native to Egypt, Central Asia, and the eastern Mediterranean region. Today it is grown in Iran, India, Morocco, China, Russia, Indonesia, Japan, and Turkey. It is used in curries, for pickling, for sauerkraut, in soups, and in stews. It is widely used in Latin America. (Vaughan and Geissler 1997)
Cumin is a member of the carrot family (Apiaceae or Umbelliferae). It is a small, slender, branching annual herb, around 30 cm tall. The leaves are divided into several thread-like segments up to 5 cm in length. The small white or pink flowers are borne in few-flowered umbels with thread-like bracts. The fruit is 4 to 8 mm in length and grayish green to dark gray in color. Black Cumin (Nigella sativa) is in an entirely different family (Ranunculaceae, the buttercup family). (Vaughan and Geissler 1997)
- Vaughan, J.G. and C.A. Geissler. 1997. The New Oxford Book of Food Plants (revised and updated edition). Oxford University Press, New York.
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