Cumin is native to Egypt and has been cultivated in the Middle East, India, China and Mediterranean countries for millennia. Throughout history, cumin has played an important role as a food and medicine and has been a cultural symbol with varied attributes. Cumin was mentioned in the Bible not only as a seasoning for soup and bread, but also as a currency used to pay tithes to the priests. In ancient Egypt, cumin was not only used as a culinary spice, it was also an ingredient used to mummify pharaohs.
Cumin seeds contain numerous phyto-chemicals that are known to have antioxidant, carminative and anti-flatulent properties. The seeds are an excellent source of dietary fiber. Its seeds contain certain health-benefiting essential oils such as cuminaldehyde (4-isopropylbenzaldehyde), pyrazines, 2-methoxy-3-sec-butylpyrazine, 2-ethoxy-3-isopropylpyrazine, and 2-methoxy-3-methylpyrazine. The active principles in the cumin may augment the motility of the gastro-intestinal tract as well as aids in the digestion power by increasing gut enzyme secretions. This spice is an excellent source of minerals like iron, copper, calcium, potassium, manganese, selenium, zinc and magnesium. Copper is required in the production of red blood cells. Iron is required for red blood cell formation. Zinc is a co-factor in many enzymes that regulate growth and development, sperm generation, digestion and nucleic acid synthesis. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the powerful anti-oxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. The spice also contains very good amounts of B-complex vitamins such as thiamin, vitamin B-6, niacin, riboflavin, and other vital anti-oxidant vitamins like vitamin E, vitamin A and vitamin C. The seeds are also rich source of many flavonoid phenolic anti-oxidants such as carotenes, zea-xanthin, and lutein.
Spacing: 6” to 10”
Height: 12” to 18”
Optimum Soil Ph: 4.5 to 8.3
Days To Maturity: 120
Sowing Method: Outdoors
Sow the seeds indoors in plugs or pots in early spring. After the frosts, plant out your seedlings 4 inches (10cm) apart into a prepared bed. Alternatively, after the frosts, sow them in shallow drills directly into the ground and cover with soil or compost. Water well in dry weather and about four months later you’ll be ready to harvest. Note: Sow them fairly thickly and don’t worry about the plants crowding as they’ll support each other. To harvest; cut the stalks and place 5-6 flower heads in a paper bag. Tie and hang upside down in a warm, dry place. After 7-10 days the pods will have dried. Rub the pods between your fingers and the seeds will drop out ready for immediate use or storing in a jar out of direct sunlight.