Cumin Seed

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

cumin seed or cumin (sometimes cummin) for short, a spice consisting of the dried, seedlike, fruits of Cuminum cyminum, a pretty little annual herb of the parsley family, Umbelliferae. It probably originated in the E. Mediterranean region, but is now grown also in India, China, Japan, and Indonesia.

Cumin was well known in antiquity. There are biblical references to threshing the harvested plants with rods to collect the ‘seeds’, a procedure still followed in some places in the E. Mediterranean.