Species: Cuminum cyminum
Other names: Jeera, jira, zeera, kamon
Appearance: Light brown, spherical seeds
Typically used: Whole or ground
Origin: Cumin seeds originated in Egypt, and are now cultivated in most hot climates, including Mexico, India, Morocco, Turkey, Greece, and the Middle East.
Flavor: The flavor of the cumin seed is powerful and earthy, pungent, bitter, and somewhat spicy.
Aroma: Warm, strong, nutty
Culinary uses: Cumin is considered a warming spice. It is not truly "spicy," but it warms in a similar way that cinnamon does. It is used extensively in Indian cooking, as well as Latin cooking. The spice is best used whole or freshly ground for maximum flavor. The whole seeds can be toasted or bloomed in ghee to release the flavor. Use cumin with all sorts of meat or vegetable dishes, as well as cream sauce, salad dressing, and summer beverages. Cumin pairs well with coriander, other warming spices, chilies, and fresh herbs.