Cumin - cuminum cyminum
Cumin is an essential spice that imparts a distinct and warm flavour to a wide range of savoury dishes from India, the Middle East, North Africa and Mexico.
Flavour: Slightly bitter, pungent, strong
How to Use:
Cheese, cheese dishes, rice, chili con carne, eggs, hamburgers, meat pie, meat loaf, spareribs, poultry, soups, chowders, stews, barbecue sauce, marinades for shish kebab, tomato sauce, sauerkraut, salad dressings, potatoes, lentils, cabbage, all types of beans, cookies and bread.
Cumin has been used by humans for a long time. It has been found in the pyramids so its use dates back at least 7000years. The seed which produces the spice, grows on a small plant of the parsley family which grows to a height of 10 inches. Its flowers can be pink, white or mauve. The seeds are oval, about a 1/4 inch long, light brown, with lighter coloured ridges.
Israeli scientists have identified cumin, an ancient spice known in Biblical times and widely enjoyed today (especially in bean and lentil dishes) as one of several spices with anti-cancer properties. When urologists at Western Galilee Regional Hospital analyzed the eating habits of patients with some kind of urological cancer (such as bladder or prostate cancer) and patients free of disease, they concluded that dietary differences were a significant factor.
Among the spices examined, cumin appeared to be the most potent cancer-preventive. While only 12 percent of patients with cancer said they seasoned their foods with cumin, 40 percent of those without cancer reporting using the spice.
Similarly, researchers in India who tested the effectiveness of 20 different spices and leafy vegetables in preventing cancer identified cumin as a heavyweight in the battle to combat this serious disease. The spice greatly increased the activity of a chemical called GST, a detoxification enzyme known to protect against certain kinds of cancer. Cumin was also found to block 83 percent of the chromosome damage normally caused by a powerful cancer-causing chemical, while poppy seeds prevented 80 percent, and turmeric, 54 percent.