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home > food & wine dictionary > cumin

Food and Wine Dictionary


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 cumin    [KUH-mihn, KYOO-mihn, KOO-mihn]

Also called comino , this ancient spice dates back to the Old Testament. Shaped like a caraway seed, cumin is the dried fruit of a plant in the parsley family. Its aromatic, nutty-flavored seeds come in three colors: amber (the most widely available), white and black (both found in Asian markets). White cumin seed is interchangeable with amber, but the black seed has a more complex, peppery flavor. Cumin is available in seed and ground forms. As with all seeds, herbs and spices, it should be stored in a cool, dark place for no more than 6 months. Cumin is particularly popular in Middle Eastern, Asian and Mediterranean cooking. Among other things, it's used to make curries, chili powders and KÜMMEL LIQUEUR. See also  SPICES; HERB AND SPICE CHART.

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Material adapted from the The New Food Lover's Companion

© Copyright Barron's Educational Services, Inc. 1995 based on
THE FOOD LOVER'S COMPANION, 2nd edition, by Sharon Tyler Herbst.


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