An aromatic spice with a distinctive bitter flavor and strong, warm aroma due to its abundant oil content. Cumin "seeds" are actually the small dried fruit of an annual plant in the parsley family. Native to the Mediterranean, cumin is hotter to the taste, lighter in color, and larger than caraway, another spice it's sometimes confused with. Sold whole or ground, the seeds come in three colors: amber, white or black. Amber is most widely available, but the black has such a complex flavor it should not be substituted for the other two. Cumin is a popular ingredient in Middle Eastern, Asian, Mediterranean and Mexican cuisines, and is one of the main ingredients in curry powder.

Plural: Cumin

Season: available year-round

How to store: Store in an airtight container and place in a dry, cool area, away from light. Flavor and aroma can be retained for up to six months.

Matches well with: beans, chicken, couscous, curry, eggplant, fish, lamb, lentils, peas, pork, potatoes, rice, sausages, soups, stews, eggs

Substitutions: caraway seeds (use half as much); or caraway seeds plus anise seeds; or chili powder; or Amber cumin seeds may be substituted for white cumin seeds and vice versa.

Popular Cumin Recipes