Cumin is boomin’
This article was originally published in June 2014
Grown in warm climates throughout the world, cumin has been cultivated for at least 5,000 years, and today it’s a key component in the cuisines of Mexico, India and numerous Mediterranean countries. Its warmly pungent flavor excels as an ingredient that balances and brings together myriad spices, which is why it’s critical in complex blends like garam masala and chili powder. Our bulk department stocks organic versions of both ground cumin and cumin seed.
It’s useful to have ground cumin on hand to sprinkle into barbecue rubs or chili; the flavor of ground cumin is common in Mexican food, from tacos to grilled corn. Buying in small amounts is the best way to keep ground spices tasting fresh.
Toasting whole seed in a small skillet over medium heat for about five minutes subtly changes its flavor, making it softer and more earthy. Whole seed is frequently used in Indian and Eastern Mediterranean food and is great with sweeter vegetables.
Compound Cumin Butter
Combine 1 teaspoon each ground cumin, minced cilantro and fresh lime juice, along with ½ teaspoon salt. Blend this mixture into 1 stick of softened butter. Wrap well and keep in the fridge — it’s great to have on hand to brush on grilled steaks or chicken.
DIY Cumin Cordial
Kümmel is a traditional Dutch liqueur that is flavored with a blend of caraway, cumin and fennel; in the U.S., it’s typically found as a cocktail ingredient rather than sipped straight. It’s not easy to find, but it’s very easy to make. Get recipe for DIY Cumin Cordial »
Get recipe for Roasted Cumin Carrots »