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Captivating Cumin

Captivating Cumin in a black bowl

Biblical Beginnings

Cumin is one of the cultivated plants of Palestine. The Maltese are said to still grow it today, and to thresh it in the manner described by Isaiah in the Bible.

Cumin's unique flavor has made it an integral spice in the cuisines of Mexico, India and the Middle East. Cumin has a slightly bitter, spicy flavor. Cumin also adds a nutty, peppery flavor to chili and other Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes. Both whole and ground cumin are available year-round.

Cumin Health Benefits

Cumin seeds are a very good source of iron, a mineral that plays many vital roles in the body. Cumin is also a good source of manganese.

Cumin seeds have traditionally been noted to benefit to the digestive system, and scientific research is beginning to bear out cumin's age-old reputation. Research has shown that cumin may stimulate the secretion of pancreatic enzymes, compounds necessary for proper digestion and nutrient assimilation.

Currently, researchers are studying potential benefits of cumin regarding cancer.

Biblical Basics with Cumin

In the Bible, cumin is mentioned as a seasoning for soup and bread. Cumin is also noted in the Bible as having been a currency used to pay tithes to the priests. In early Egypt, cumin was listed as a medicinal plant, used as an antiseptic. More recently cumin was recognized as an excellent digestive aid.

Biblical References:

Black Cumin "For the fitches are not threshed with a threshing instrument, neither is a cart wheel turned about upon the cummin; but the fitches are beaten out with a staff, and the cumin with a rod." KJV, Isaiah 28:27

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cumin, and have left undone the weightier matters of the law: justice, mercy, and faith. But you ought to have done these, and not to have left the other undone." Matthew 23:23

"When he has leveled its surface, doesn't he plant the dill, and scatter the cumin seed, and put in the wheat in rows, the barley in the appointed place, and the spelt in its place?" Isaiah 28:25

Cumin in Love

During the Middle Ages in Europe, cumin became recognized as a symbol of love and fidelity. People carried cumin in their pockets when they attended wedding ceremonies, and married soldiers were sent off to war with a loaf of cumin bread baked by their wives. Cumin's use for fortifying love is also represented in certain Arabic traditions in which a paste of ground cumin, pepper and honey is thought to have aphrodisiac properties.

Cooking with Cumin

  • You can really bring out the fullness of the aroma and flavor of cumin seeds by lightly roasting the cumin seeds before using them in a recipe.
  • If you want to try that aphrodisiac effect, combine cumin, black pepper and honey. Whether or not this potion will actually inspire Cupid's arrows, it is a tasty combination that can be used to flavor vegetables, chicken and fish dishes.
  • For a soothing cumin tea, boil cumin seeds in water and let them steep for 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Take plain brown rice and magically give it special pizzazz by adding cumin seeds, dried apricots and almonds.
  • Season healthy sauteed vegetables with cumin.
  • Sprinkle cumin seeds over baby carrots, pumpkin wedges and/or potatoes before roasting.
  • If you need cumin for a recipe and don't have any on hand, use an equal amount of taco seasoning, which contains a little of both. It also has dried onion and garlic, so it adds even more flavor.

Black Cumin

Another highly diverse medicinal plant is black cumin (nigella sativa). Common ailments that can be cured using black cumin include: cough, pulmonary infections, asthma, influenza, allergy, hypertension, and stomachache. The seeds of black cumin are classified as carminative, stimulant, diuretic, and galactogogue. Seed powder or oil from black cumin can be applied externally in case of skin eruptions.

Black Cumin

Cumin and Weight Loss

In a 2015 study, people on a reduced fat diet who also consumed 1 teaspoon of cumin daily lost three more pounds than those on a calorically equivalent diet without cumin. In addition, they lost three times more body fat! How can a humble teaspoon of cumin work such wonders? Cumin revs metabolism, researchers from Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice say.

Another bonus. Those in the cumin plan saw greater drops in LDL (bad) cholesterol. This is believed to be a direct result of the natural plant sterols in the spice.

Try these delicious Steak Fries flavored with cumin and garlic. All ingredients from God's garden!

Shake 'n Bake Steak Fries Recipe

4 large baking potatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat over to 425 degrees. Spray large baking dish with non-stick spray. Peel potatoes and cut lengthwise into 3/4 inch thick wedges.

Place all ingredients into large baggy and seal. Shake together until potatoes are even coated. Place on baking dish and cook for 40 to 45 minutes or until potatoes are tender and golden brown.

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