Cumin, Cuminum cyminum, is from the family Apiaceae. Cumin, pronounced “khu-min”, it is closely related to anise, caraway, coriander, dill and fennel. Cumin is native to the Mediterranean regions and northern Africa but has been cultivated for thousands of years in the Middle East, India, China and the Mediterranean.
In the U.S. cumin has not historically been a widely used spice but more recently it has gained in popularity. Worldwide cumin is one of the most consumed spices right after chiles and pepper. Cumin is a key spice in Indian, Mexican, and Vietnamese cuisine. For cooks in the Far East, Latin America, Mexico, the Middle East and North Africa, cumin has long been a signature spice and is a key ingredient in various spice blends and many bean, couscous, curries, rice and vegetable dishes.
Ground Cumin has a strong, very distinctive flavor. The taste is heavy and spicy-sweet but has warm depth. The flavor is rich, earthy, slightly bitter, sharp, and the pungency is persistent. We recommend using sparingly as a little goes a long way.