You might have seen cumin seeds, and you might also know what is cumin powder. Yes, it is the powder obtained by grinding cumin seeds. But, from where does the seed comes?
The Cummins seed comes from the flowering plant called Cuminum cyminum that belongs to the family Apiaceae, which is a native from eastern Mediterranean to the South Asia.
The cumin seeds that we add to our cuisines are nothing but the dried seed of the herb Cuminum cyminum. These seeds are the part of the parsley family. The cumin plant grows to the height of 30-50 cm, and it is hand harvested.
Farmers get the seeds from the fruits of this plant, then, they dry it and sell it for use to consumers from different cultures. It is used both as powder and as the whole seed.
Jeera is the name for cumin seeds in Hindi. You might have consumed jeera water to ease an upset stomach.
Cumins are known for their best aroma, and you can now quickly get jeera powder from good brands, which was not the case earlier. People had no other option other than grinding the cumin seeds in their home.
In many cultures, people use jeera seeds. In the ancient Egyptian civilisation, people were using them as spices and also used as a preservative in the process of mummification in Egypt.
The regular cumin seed is brownish yellow. But, you might have seen black jeera. The black cumin seed is known for its excellent medicinal properties, and so it is widely used in traditional medicine in countries like India.
People use black jeera seeds rarely in cuisines, but herbalists use it for medicinal purpose. It is not the case of the regular cumin powder that we use in cooking.