Jeera (Cumin Seeds)

With sharp and astringent tone and woody note, Cumin is the spice, native to territory including the Middle East and stretching east to India. It belongs to Parsky family of plants with the botanical name ‘Cuminum Cyminum’. There is evidence that cumin was found in some parts of the World over 5,000 years ago. Cumin seeds are excavated at a site in Syria have been dated to 2,000 BCE. Evidence of the use of Cumin found in the period between the 16th – 11th Century BCE.

India and China produce 70% of the World supply and consumes 90% of that. Black cumin is the default variety that grows all over the Kashmir valley, though the higher the altitude, the better and more fragrant the spice. The weaker the nutrients in the soil, the richer the flavour of the spice. And, therefore, Rajasthan produces one of the best quality of cumin. Rajasthan provides the largest size of cumin, and the variety is often exported to Western Europe where premium quality is always sought. Gujarat, the neighbour to Rajasthan, grows the lion’s share of India’s Cumin. Four steps turn unprocessed Cumin into the spice that goes to Kitchen and Dish. The first step sieves the sand and dust away; the second step takes away the loose sticks (since the crops of Cumin are merely the dried grass and herbs); the third step separates the seeds by size, and fourth removes the cover of cumin – the silken stalk on one side of the seed.

Cumin crop doesn’t grow well in humid and heavy rainfall climatic conditions. It thrives well in moderate dry, and colder climate and Sub-tropical climate is ideal for Cumin cultivation; therefore, Gujarat and Rajasthan are higher producers in India. Best time for Cumin seed sowing is November to December. Subsequent irrigation/cultivation should be given depending upon the soil type.

The Cumin seeds aid the digestion, improve immunity, and useful for treating the piles, asthma, respiratory disorders etc. It is the spice that gives a robust dimension to the Food and abundantly found in Indian Cuisine. In combination with other spices such as asafoetida (hing), mustard seeds, cinnamon, black cardamom etc. It forms a sharp note to the food. Cumin is the second most important food ingredient in India after an Onion.