Cumin

Cuminum cyminum
Umbelliferae, parsley-carrot family
Mass cumin flowers in the garden
Mass cumin flowers in the garden
Caraway [nigella] is beaten out with a rod, and cumin with a stick...All this also comes from the Lord Almighty, whose plan is wonderful, whose wisdom is magnificent.
Isaiah 28:27, 29
When a farmer plows for planting, does he plow continually? Does he keep on breaking up and working the soil? When he has leveled the surface, does he not sow caraway [nigella] and scatter cumin?
Isaiah 28:24-25

Cultural Information

TypeHerbs & Spices
Height6 to 10 inches
Soilwell-drained, loose, workable texture
Exposurefull sun
Leavesjointed stalks rise from central taproot; lacy, snowflake-like foliage similar to carrot and parsley cousins, bright, grass-green color
Flowersdainty, white, perhaps with a pale pink cast, umbel or fan-like array of five-petaled flowers
Fruitseedheads form beneath petite flowers, oblong shape

Planting Tips

  • sow seeds in spring after frost, cumin is an annual in all hardiness zones
  • plant in clumps so plants can support each other as they grow
  • to harvest seed, cumin requires a long, hot, sunny summer so plant in the sunniest part of your yard
  • keep moist as seeds sprout and seedlings mature; once established, cumin is drought tolerant
  • cumin makes a good companion planting to other vegetable crops

Garden to Table

  • enjoy little bouquets of cumin flowers for a meadow-wild flower looking floral display
  • cumin can be a challenge to grow and produce enough seeds for all the recipes you want to try! So feel free to supplement from the grocer's spice aisle
  • buy cumin in seed form, not ground or powdered, for most pungent flavor
  • crush seeds just before use in cooking; toasting lightly also enhances flavor
  • cumin is most familiar as the distinctive flavor of American chili, but use cumin in subtle amounts to give meat, lentil, quinoa and wild rice dishes a savory depth

Additional Resources

See Blog Posts on Cumin
Knowing one's plants and paying attention to their needs is a large part of a farmer or gardener's work...likewise we are poignantly reminded: He knows. God is an infinite source of wisdom, and he knows each of our unique needs and constitutions; he can tell us everything we ever did (John 4:39), and he knows exactly what he is doing.
-from the NIV God's Word for Gardeners Bible
When a farmer plows for planting, does he plow continually? Does he keep on breaking up and working the soil? When he has leveled the surface, does he not sow caraway [nigella] and scatter cumin?
Isaiah 28:24-25

Photo Credits

© Heikerau | Dreamstime.com - Cumin Photo. Mass cumin flowers in the garden to provide support as they grow - and beautiful too!
©2014 Shelley S. Cramm Buy whole cumin seeds to maintain the best flavor for cooking
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