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All About Cumin Seeds | Know Your Spice Jeera (Cuminum cyminum L.)

All About Cumin Seeds | Know Your Spice Jeera (Cuminum cyminum L.)

Know more about cumin seeds or jeera (Cuminum cyminum L.)

Cumin seeds or jeera – health benefits of cumin seeds

Cumin (Cuminum cyminum L) – Cumin is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae, native to a territory including the Middle East and stretching east to India.

Its seeds – each one contained within a fruit, which is dried – are used in the cuisines of many cultures in both whole and ground form.

Anecdotal evidences claims significant health benefits of cumin since it has been in use as a spice for thousands of years.

Since, cumin is believed to have uses in the traditional medicine, it has become the subject of medical research today.

Cumin is sometimes confused with caraway (Carum carvi), another spice in the parsley family (Apiaceae). Cumin, though, is hotter to the taste, lighter in color, and larger.

What are the other names of Cumin Seeds?

The names of cumin seeds in other languages are given below.
Indian Languages Other Languages
Hindi: Jeera (जीरा)
Bengali: Jira (জিরা)
Gujarati:
Jiru (જીરું)
Kannada: Jirige (ಜೀರಿಗೆ)
Kashmiri:
Zireh (زیرہ)
Malayalam
: Jeeragam (ജീരകം)
Marathi: Jire (जिरे)
Punjabi:
Jira (ਜੀਰਾ)
Sanskrit:
Jiiraka (जीरक), Jiirana (जीरण),
Sugandhan सुगंधन), Udgaarshodan (उद्गरशोदन)
Tamil:
Jiragam (ஜீரகம்)
Telugu:
Jilakara (జీలకర),
Jilakaara (జీలకర్ర)
Latin (Botanical): Cuminum cyminum L.
Arabic: Kamoun (كمون)
Chinese:
Siu wuih heung (小茴香)
Dutch:
Komijn, Djinten
English: Green cumin, White cumin
French:
Cumin blanc, Cumin du Maroc, Faux anis
German: Kreuzkümmel, Weißer Kreuzkümmel
Greek: Kimino (Κύμινο)
Japanese: Kumin (クミン), Umazeri (ウマゼリ)
Portuguese: Cominho
Swedish
: Spiskummin, Vit kummin, Romersk kummin

What exactly are cumin seeds?

Get to know more about cumin seeds or jeera (Cuminum cyminum L.)

Cumin plant comes from the Apiaceae (Parsley or Carrot family). It is amongst the most used spices worldwide. It’s fruits (frequently called seeds) are used as a spice.

It is native to, western Asia, where it is culti­vated since ancient times. Main pro­duction countries today occurs in India, Iran, Indonesia, China and the South Medi­terranean.

The cumin plant grows to 30–50 cm (12–20 in) tall and is harvested by hand. It is an annual herbaceous plant, with a slender, glabrous, branched stem that is 20–30 cm (8–12 in) tall.

The stem is coloured grey or dark green. The flowers are small, white or pink, and borne in umbels. Each umbel has five to seven umbellets.

The fruit is a lateral fusiform or ovoid achene 4–5 mm (1⁄6–1⁄5 in) long, containing two mericarps with a single seed. Cumin seeds have eight ridges with oil canals.

Cumin or jeera is strongly aromatic; the aroma is charac­teristic and gets easily modified by frying or dry toasting.

Cumin is one of the most used spices in India, both in the North and South. Particularly in the North, fruits are used as a whole, and are fried (frequently together with onion) or toasted before usage.

Cumin is also needed for the marinades that prepare meats for a short but intense broiling in the North-West Indian clay oven tandoor.

Ground cu­min can­not be toasted, as it would burn quickly, but toasted cumin can be ground and used as a sea­soning.

What is the nutritional value of cumin seeds?

Find out about the nutritional value of cumin seeds or jeera (Cuminum cyminum L.)

Cumin seeds are an excellent source of minerals like iron, copper, calcium, potassium, manganese, selenium, zinc and magnesium.

  • Copper is required in the production of red blood cells.
  • Iron is essential for red blood cell formation.
  • Zinc is a cofactor in many enzymes that regulate growth and development, digestion and nucleic acid synthesis.
  • Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure.
  • The human body uses manganese for the important antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.

Jeera or cumin seeds also contain very good amounts of B-complex vitamins such as thiamin, vitamin B-6, niacin, riboflavin, and other vital antioxidant vitamins like vitamin E, vitamin A, and vitamin C.

The seeds are also a rich source of many flavonoid phenolic antioxidants such as carotenes, zeaxanthin, and lutein.

What is the chemical composition of cumin seeds?

Know and understand about chemical composition of cumin seeds or jeera (Cuminum cyminum L.)

α–Pinene (29.2%), limonene (21.7%), 1,8-cineole (18.1%), linalool (10.5%), linalyl acetate (4.8%), and α-terpineol (3.17%) were the major components of the essential oil from C. cyminum L..

The oil shows a strong inhibitory effect on fungal growth. Essential oils are used as preservatives in pharmaceuticals, health and food products to protect them against toxigenic fungal infections.

What is the history of cumin seeds?

Know more about the origins & the story behind cumin seeds or jeera (Cuminum cyminum L.)

Cumin has been in use since ancient times. Seeds excavated at the Syrian location Tell ed-derva have been dated to the second millennium BC.

The oldest reference to cumin dates back 5,000 years as a mummification ingredient for the bodies of Egyptian pharaohs from ancient Egyptian archaeological sites

Originally cultivated in Iran and the Mediterranean region, cumin is mentioned in the Bible in both the Old Testament (Isaiah 28:27) and the New Testament (Matthew 23:23).

The ancient Greeks kept cumin in the dining stall in its own container as much as pepper is habitually kept nowadays, and this practice continues in Morocco.

Superstition during the Middle Ages cited that cumin kept chickens and lovers from wandering.

It was also believed that a happy life awaited the bride and groom who carried cumin seed throughout the wedding ceremony.

It was regarded as the ‘king of condiments, ‘ by Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder. In modern day Georgia and Africa, salt combined with cumin is still a popular seasoning.

From the 7th century CE, Arab traders transported cumin on their spice caravans to North Africa and east to Iran, India and Indonesia and China.

Consequently, it became a key component in many regional spice mixes including Baharat (Middle East), Garam masala and Panch phoran (India) and Ras el hanout (Morocco).

It was brought to the Americas by Spanish and Portuguese colonists.

What are the uses of cumin seeds or jeera?

How are cumin seeds or jeera (Cuminum cyminum L.) used?

Cumin seed (jeera) is an important Indian spice that not only makes your food delicious but has numerous health benefits.

  • It is a key component in many regional spice mixes including Baharat (Middle East), Garam masala and Panch phoran (India) and Ras el hanout (Morocco).
  • When ground cumin is mixed with honey and pepper, it is considered to function as an aphrodisiac. This concoction is widely popular amongst the Middle Easterns.
  • It is a major component in the preparation of curries, stews, soups, and other food products.
  • Derived from cumin seeds, cumin essential oil may be used as a scent in cosmetics such as creams, perfumes, and lotions.
  • Cumin seeds might also be used to produce medicines that help in treating problems like diarrhea, colic, inflammation, bowel and muscle spasms, and gas.
  • Cumin is traditionally used as a spice in Indian cooking, either as whole seeds or in powdered form.

What do cumin seeds taste like?

What is the taste of cumin seeds or jeera?

Cumin is often described as a warming spice, but if you crush a whole seed between your teeth you will also notice a slight menthol quality akin to fennel seed or caraway.

  • Uncooked cumin seeds – have a very strong smell and taste.
  • Cooked cumin seeds – When cumin seeds are dry roasted, the flavour becomes more intense of being slightly hot, sharp, and bittersweet taste.

How Much Cumin Seeds or Jeera Should I Use?

What is the the recommended quantity of cumin seeds or jeera for a day?

1–2 teaspoons of cumin seeds is ideal for an individual’s daily consumption. It is best to be conservative when cooking with cumin as its flavour can easily dominate a dish.

Ground cumin has a more concentrated flavour than whole cumin seeds so you will need to add different amounts of spice in both cases.

For a recipe that calls for 1 tablespoon of ground cumin, use 1 1/4 tablespoons of cumin seeds.

What are the ayurvedic properties of cumin seeds or jeera?

Information about ayurvedic details of cumin seeds or jeera (Cuminum cyminum L.).

Cumin is used as an Ayurvedic medicine used for several diseases of the digestive, respiratory, circulatory and reproductive system.

In Ayurveda, it is used because of its carminative, digestive stimulant, antacid, astringent, diuretic actions.

Rasa (Taste): Katu (Pungent)
Guna (Qualities): Laghu (Light), Rooksha (Dry)
Veerya (Potency): Ushna (Hot)
Vipaka (Taste conversion after digestion): Katu (Pungent)
Karma (Actions): Pacifies Kapha Dosha & Vata Dosha. Increases Pitta Dosha

What can I use cumin seeds for?

Learn how to use cumin seeds or jeera (Cuminum cyminum L.) in your food & beverages.

Apart from significant health benefits of cumin seeds, jeera lends its distinctive flavour to various Indian curries.

  • It is added to rice and lentils. Its flavour has been described as earthy, nutty, spicy and warm. Cumin is one of those spices (whole or ground) that’s essential for any spice cupboard.
  • Just a teaspoon adds a hint of smokiness, use more and your dish infused with sweet earthy flavours.
  • Cumin is a staple ingredient in most curry powders and many spice blends, especially in Indian cuisine.
  • It’s used extensively for savoury recipes, like curries, rice, meat, fish, vegetables and pulses.
  • Indian cuisine is incomplete without the usage of the traditional spices like cumin seeds, turmeric, coriander etc.
  • Cumin goes very well with several spices to create a multi-layer flavour experience in a dish.
    These spices are cardamom, cinnamon, allspice, clove, fennel, oregano, nutmeg, fenugreek, thyme leaves, coriander, cilantro, sumac, and mint.
  • Make a rub for lamb, cumin goes very well and enhances flavours of garlic and chilli powder.
  • The spice works well for breads, pickles, barbecue sauces, and chili con carne recipes.
  • It is often taken as a tea, to help improve digestion, relieve bloating, and assist in the assimilation of fats into the body.
  • Use cumin for all sorts of dishes, such as curries, hummus, falafel, couscous, meat stews, enchiladas, and fajitas.
  • Use it in all your raitas.

How do I prepare cumin seeds for food?

Learn how to prepare cumin seeds or jeera (Cuminum cyminum L.) in your food & beverages.

Whole cumin seeds taste best when they are toasted first, bringing out the flavour of its essential oils. Toasted seeds can be added right to salads or on top of steamed rice.

Frying whole cumin seeds in oil is the first step in many curry recipes, soon followed by diced onion and tomato. This allows the spice has time needed to release its essence.

I usually add cumin to my jeera rice too before it’s cooked. The flavour of the rice turns out to be really good.

Can you eat all parts of cumin?

What parts of cumin seeds or jeera (Cuminum cyminum L.) plant are used for food & beverages.
  • Cumin flowers – The cumin plant produces umbels of fragrant pink or white flowers that appear in midsummer, amidst feathery foliage similar to dill – which can be added to salads.
  • Cumin seeds – Cumin seeds contain key nutrients such as iron, potassium, calcium and copper.

How long does cumin seeds last?

Learn about how long does cumin seeds or jeera (Cuminum cyminum L.) last in storage.
  • Whole cumin seeds – Whole cumin seeds will last in your pantry for up to 3 to 4 years.
  • Ground cumin seeds – Ground cumin seeds kept in a cool, dark place and will last up to 6 months.

How do I store cumin seeds?

Learn about how to store cumin seeds or jeera (Cuminum cyminum L.).
  • Whole cumin seeds – In an airtight container stored in your pantry or even a refrigerator.
  • Ground cumin seeds – In an airtight container stored in a cool & dry, dark place.

Do not store the powder for long because cumin seeds powder or jeera powder tends to lose its flavour & potency very fast.

Is there a substitute for cumin seeds or jeera?

Learn how to use a substitute for cumin seeds or jeera (Cuminum cyminum L.) if unavailable
  • Anise – The best substitute for cumin seeds is anise. tastes very similar to anise seeds because of their licorice taste.
  • Dill seeds – Dill seeds are also very similar to cumin seeds, although this is more in terms of their savoury flavour.
  • Caraway seeds – The licorice taste is more pronounced in caraway seeds than cumin seeds, and the taste is more bitter than sweet.
  • Licorice root powder – Do note that it is very potent and will be far sweeter than cumin seeds.
  • French tarragon – French tarragon (or simply tarragon) has a very distinct licorice flavor.

Where do I buy cumin seeds from?

Where to Locate Cumin Seeds or Saunf (Cuminum cyminum L.) in the Grocery Store?

Whole cumin seeds can be found packaged in the spice section of most grocery stores. Ground cumin is readily available at most grocery stores in the spice aisle.

Buy cumin seeds or jeera on Amazon: India | USA

What are the health benefits of cumin seeds?

Learn more about health benefits of cumin seeds or jeera (Cuminum cyminum L.)

Some of the health benefits of cumin seeds (Cuminum cyminum L.) are traditionally known for, including promoting digestion and reducing food-borne infections.

Others health benefits of jeera include promoting weight loss and improving blood sugar control and cholesterol.

  • Health Benefits of Cumin Seeds as an Antioxidant – They prevent many diseases that can get serious at a later stage. They are also useful in fighting the signs of ageing as well.
  • Health Benefits of Jeera for Nutrition & Immunity – Cumin seeds contain a good amount of dietary fibre that is essential for the body. Cumin fights diseases and builds immunity. Jeera/Cumin water is considered to be very good for health.
  • Health Benefits of Cumin Seeds for Digestive Health – Cumin is considered highly effective for indigestion. It increases the activity of digestive enzymes and releases bile from the liver. Bile helps in digesting fats and certain nutrients in the body. It reduces the irritable symptoms of bowel syndrome with its anti-inflammatory properties. It can also prevent gastrointestinal complications in pregnant women.
  • Health Benefits of Jeera for Weight loss – Obesity is connected to diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and osteoarthritis. Consuming cumin regularly controls bloating and helps to shed the extra fat. Eating cumin seeds can essentially help you get rid of indigestion. 
  • Health Benefits of Cumin Seeds for Regulating Blood Pressure – Protecting heart and prevention of heart attack is another benefit of cumin seeds. The potassium content in cumin helps in maintaining the electrolyte balance of the body. It also regulates the production of cells and maintains blood pressure, which is one of the prominent causes of heart attacks.
  • Health Benefits of Jeera for Controlling Cholesterol – The antioxidant properties of dried cumin seeds are undeniably beneficial to the individuals. They have flavonoids and inhibit lipid peroxidation which causes a dip in oxidized-LDL levels. The active components like Zinc and Manganese activate the antioxidant enzymes in your body. It further protects you from cardiovascular diseases.
  • Health Benefits of Cumin Seeds Against Menstrual Pain – Cumin Seeds help in reducing menstrual pains, alleviates symptoms of menopause, shorten the length of the menstruation cycle, reduced period-related nausea due to the presence of oestrogen.
  • Health Benefits of Jeera for Stress – There has also been some early research that shows cumin may counteract stress and improve memory.
  • Health Benefits of Cumin as Anticancer Agent – Cumin appears to have the ability to keep cancer cells from multiplying, according to some experiments.
  • Health Benefits of Jeera for Stress for Diarrhea – Traditional medicine practitioners have recommended cumin for the treatment of diarrhea for centuries.
  • Health Benefits of Cumin as Antibacterial Agent – The oil extracted from cumin seeds has been used as an effective larvicide and antiseptic agent. The oil even kills strains of bacteria that are resistant to other antiseptics.
Cumin Seeds or Jeera - Health Benefits of Cumin Seeds
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Jeera Water - How to Make Jeera Water? Make Water with Cumin Seeds

Jeera Water - How to Make Jeera Water? Make Water with Cumin Seeds - Jeera Water or Cumin Water has a very cooling effect to the human body and also aids digestion.
Course Beverage, Drinks
Cuisine Indian
Diet Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword Cumin, Cumin Seeds, Cumin Water, Jeera, Jeera Water
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 12 minutes
Servings 1 person
Calories 8kcal
Author Sumit Malhotra

Ingredients

  • 1 Teaspoon Jeera Cumin Seeds
  • 2 Cup Water Paani

Instructions

  • Take water in a saucepan, add jeera or cumin seeds to it.
  • Boil on a medium-low flame until it reduces to half.
  • Switch off the flame and strain the jeera water.
  • Discard the cumin seeds and consume the water hot or warm.

Notes

  • Do not make it in advance and store jeera water.
  • Always make cumin water fresh when you want to drink it.

Jeera water or cumin water

Can I drink cumin water daily?

Can I drink jeera water or cumin water everyday?

Jeera water or jeera pani jump-starts your metabolism & help balance blood sugar, in addition to boosting your hydration.

People drink jeera water twice per day on an empty stomach for best results.

Is Cumin and Jeera the same thing?

What is the difference between jeera & cumin?

Jeera & Cumin seeds are same. Jeera is the Hindi word for Cumin seeds (which is English). Jeera is used in Indian cooking lot as it is very flavourful. It aids digestion & is a very good source of Iron.

What are the side effects of jeera water?

Are there any side effects of jeera water?

People with diabetes and bleeding disorders should really be careful about the quantity of jeera they consume.

Consuming excessive jeera water might lower their blood sugar levels and affect their blood clotting mechanism as well.

For lactating mothers, consuming an excessive amount of jeera may result in lower production of breast milk.

So! Do consult you doctors before drinking jeera pani in excess.

FINALLY, TO SUM IT UP

Cumin seeds or jeera – health benefits of cumin seeds

Cumin (Cuminum cyminum L) – Cumin is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae, native to a territory including the Middle East and stretching east to India.

Its seeds – each one contained within a fruit, which is dried – are used in the cuisines of many cultures in both whole and ground form.

Anecdotal evidences claims significant health benefits of cumin since it has been in use as a spice for thousands of years.

Since, cumin is believed to have uses in the traditional medicine, it has become the subject of medical research today.

Cumin is sometimes confused with caraway (Carum carvi), another spice in the parsley family (Apiaceae). Cumin, though, is hotter to the taste, lighter in color, and larger.

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This article is for general information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition/s.

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