Thursday, March 15, 2012

Cumin


 Cumin, scientifically known as Cuminum Cyminum, belongs to family Apiaceae and is extensively used in culinary in Indian, Asian, African, and Latin American countries.

Cumin is absolutely one of my most favorite spices to cook with. It embellishes so many foods it is truly indispensable in the kitchen. The history of cumin goes back over 5000 years. The ancient Egyptians used it as a spice in foods as well as in the mummification process. Seeds excavated at the Syrian site Tell ed-Der have been dated to the second millennium BC. The Greeks and Romans used cumin as a spice and also applied it for medicinal purposes. Originally cultivated in Iran and Mediterranean region, cumin is mentioned in the Bible in both the Old Testament,Isaiah 28:27 (but the fitches are beaten out with a staff, and the cummin with a rod) and the New Testament,Matthew 23:23("for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin"). According to the Bible, cumin had such a powerful medicinal value that it could be used as money. It was one of the common plants seen growing in Medieval monasteries, and the health benefits of cumin is documented by Ancient Greek and Egyptians physicians. It was introduced to the Americas by Spanish and Portuguese colonists. There are several different types of cumin but the most famous ones are black and green cumin. Cumin is the second most popular spice in the world after black pepper. Cumin can be used ground or as whole seeds. It helps to add an earthy taste to cooking, making it a staple in certain stews and soups, as well as curries and chili. Cumin and caraway, as well as parsley and dill, belong to the same plant family.

Cumin seeds, are an excellent source of iron, a mineral that plays many vital roles in the body. Iron is an integral component of hemoglobin, which transports oxygen from the lungs to all body cells, and is also part of key enzyme systems for energy production and metabolism. Also, iron is instrumental in keeping your immune system healthy. Iron is particularly important for menstruating women, who lose iron each month during their period. Children and adolescents also have increased needs for iron, so do women who are pregnant or lactating. Cumin seeds have traditionally been noted to be of benefit to the digestive system, cumin stimulates the secretion of pancreatic enzymes, compounds necessary for proper digestion and nutrient assimilation. Cumin seeds also have anti-carcinogenic properties. In one study, cumin was shown to protect laboratory animals from developing stomach or liver tumors.

Acording to WHFoods, The combination of cumin, black pepper and honey is considered to be an aphrodisiac in certain middle Eastern countries. Whether or not this potion will actually inspire Cupid's arrows, it is certainly a tasty combination that can be used to flavor vegetables, chicken and fish dishes, I'm sure. Whenever possible, buy whole cumin seeds instead of cumin powder since the powder loses its flavor more quickly, and the seeds can be easily ground with a mortar and pestle. Just like with other dried spices, try to select organically grown dried cumin since this will give you more assurance that it has not been altered or irradiated.
Strongly unique, with a characteristic aroma that is subtly modified by frying or dry roasting. I use it with brown rice vegetables, beans, soups ,eggs, any meat and all Mexican type food that I cook. If you haven't yet, give it a try it's healthy and is an excellent accent to almost any food. Good Luck...








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Sources:
indepthinfo.com
wikipedia.org
whfoods.com
 

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