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How to Grow Cumin(Comino)

Cuminum Cyminum

Cumin, or Comino, is not that well known in the United States. Few U.S. home gardeners grow it in their herb gardens. So, it may surprise you to learn, that Cumin is the second most popular spice in the world! I betcha this fact alone, makes you resolve to grow some Cumin in your herb garden. 

Cumin plants are native to the Mediterranean, Northern Africa, and from the Middle East to India. It has been grown and used since ancient times. The earliest uses originates in the Nile Valley in Ancient Egypt. It is popular in countless cuisines, and is an important ingredient in Indian curry.

Cumin plants belong to the Parsley family. They grow tall and have thin, slender dark green leaves. Cumin is grown for its seeds, which are preceded by pink or white flowers.

Cumin has a nutty, peppery, pungent flavor with a rich aroma and high oil content.

Today's Quiz: If Cumin is the second most popular spice in the world, what is the most popular spice???? See answer below..........

Plant Propagation:

Cumin is grown from seed. Directly sow Cumin seeds into your garden as early in the season , after the last frost in your area.

Cumin takes 100-150 days to harvest. In more northerly areas, start seeds indoors, and transplant after the last frost date.

Plan on growing many plants. It takes a lot of plants to produce the seeds you will need.

Cumin actually benefit from a little crowding. The plants help support each other, keeping the plant from bending over and touching the ground. Grow these plants in groups or clumps.

Plant Height: 12"

How to Grow Cumin Plants:

Grow Cumin plants in full sun. They grow best in hot weather, and do well in damp conditions. You can grow it in northerly areas, with the aid of an early, indoor start.

Plants grow best in average, well draining soils.

Hold the Nitrogen.... High nitrogen soils result in less fragrant, or aromatic seeds.

Water frequently in dry weather. While the plants like lots of water, they do not like to get their feet wet.

Plants are susceptible to frost in both spring and fall.

Harvesting Cumin Seeds:

Watch for seed pods to turn brown and dry. When this happens, the pods open up and spill their seeds onto the ground.

Often, the pods will not turn dry all at once. The trick is to harvest the pods when the first ones are about to spill their seeds.

After harvesting the plants, hang them up in a dry place, to allow them to completely dry.

To harvest the seeds, tie the plants together and place them in a bag. Beat the bag to open the pods, releasing the seeds. Then, sift the captured seeds outdoors during a light breeze, to remove the chafe.

Store seeds in an air-tight container.

Main Cooking Uses:

Cumin seeds are used ground or whole.

Cumin is popular in a wide variety of Mediterranean, Middle East, Indian and Mexican cuisines. It is used in everything from meats, potatoes, and vegetables, to couscous and Enchiladas.

Cumin is an important ingredient in Indian Curry,  Kabobs, and in soups and stews. It is also used in some teas.

Medicinal Uses:

Cumin has been used to aid in digestion, and for stomach ailments.

An ancient legend states that Cumin will keep lovers from straying!!!

Answer to Today's Quiz: Cumin is the second most popular spice. The most popular spice in the world is........... Black Pepper

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