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The Benefits Of Cumin

Updated on June 3, 2010
Cumin in powder form
Cumin in powder form

Origin and description of cumin

Herbs and spices are used to enhance the flavor of your dishes, but did you know that many of them contain important nutritional benefits as well? Cumin is the seed of a small plant that grows in hot countries like India, North Africa, China and the Americas. It is hairy and brownish in color and tapers off at both ends. Also known as jeera , it resembles caraway seeds but is lighter in color, and unlike caraway, has bristles which are not visible to the naked eye. Other names are Anise acre (not to be confused with anise), Cumin Acre, Cummin and Sweet Cumin.

How to buy and store cumin

Cumin is readily available in most supermarkets in the West. If you buy it in powdered form, check the expiration date as cumin powder does not have a very long shelf life. Whether you buy it in powder or seed form, it should be stored in an airtight, glass container and kept in a cool place.

Nutritional Properties

Cumin contains iron which increases hemoglobin in the blood. It also contains zinc, manganese and antioxidants such as eugenol and limonene, which fight tumors.

Culinary Uses

Cumin has a very strong flavor and is used in many spicy Indian, Eastern, Mexican and Spanish dishes. It is also an ingredient in curry and other spice mixtures. Use cumin to spice up your stews, especially chicken, grilled dishes, such as lamb, and even rice and beans. Cumin is a must have in chile con carne, enchiladas with chili sauce and chutneys. In Europe, cumin is used to flavor certain cheeses such as German Munster. When burned with wood it is used to smoke certain cheeses and meats. Because of its spicy flavor it adds zing to some vegetarian recipes like the one below.

Aloo (Potato) Pies

2 c. all purpose flour 2 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt ¾ c. water

4 medium potatoes salt to taste

Black pepper ½ tsp ground cumin

Oil for frying Hot pepper if liked


1. Mix flour, b. powder, salt and water and knead lightly; set aside to rest.

2. Boil potatoes in salted water until tender, peel and mash well, season with salt, plack pepper, hot pepper if used and ground, roasted cumin. Prepare cumin by placing the seeds in a dry frying pan on the fire. Stir seeds until they all become dark and give off a spicy aroma. Remove from the fire, turn them on to a wooden board and grind with a rolling pin to a nice fine powder.

3. Divide dough into 9 balls, flatten into 4” circles and fill with potato; wet one edge of the dough with water, fold over and seal.

4. Fry in deep, hot fat until golden brown. Drain on paper towel.

You can get 12 pies if you make the balls smaller. If you are watching your calories or fat intake, you can bake these in the oven at 350° for 30 minutes.


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    • 2besure profile image

      Pamela Lipscomb 5 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      I love the spice cumin. Great hub!

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 5 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      Thank you for all the valuable information about cumin. I had no idea cumin holds so many health benefits. I'm also glad to know about checking the expiration date. Nice recipe too. Take care.

    • quildon profile image

      Angela Joseph 5 years ago from Florida

      @PDXKaraokeGuy Thanks for your comment

      @Nihar. This is good to know. Thanks for stopping by.

    • profile image

      Nihar 5 years ago

      Hey there,I'm from India..chewing cummin seeds is an excellent remedy for indigestion,gas,bloating,overeating...

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

      Justin W Price 6 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      Good hub. I like cumin, but had no idea it had so many good nutritional properties!

    • quildon profile image

      Angela Joseph 6 years ago from Florida

      Thanks for your comment, grayghost. Hope you get a real breakthrough soon for your wife's arthritis.

    • grayghost profile image

      grayghost 6 years ago

      Thank you for a very interesting and informative Hub. My wife is dealing with severe arthritis in her knees which has nearly incapacitated her. We have been investigating the benefits of natural herbal alternatives to NSAIDS, etc. with all their dangerous side effects, and are starting to realize some excellent progress. The therapeutic value in addition to the nutritional value of many of these naturally occurring herbs and spices is often amazing.

    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      Thanks for all this great info. I enjoyed learning from you. Rated up and useful.

    • profile image

      quildon 7 years ago

      Thanks, habee

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Great info about a popular spice!

    • thevoice profile image

      thevoice 7 years ago from carthage ill

      terrific great food hub thanks much sorry I was sick