Steenbergs Organic Ground Cumin (dried)
Steenbergs Organic Cumin - or jeera - is another classic of the organic storecupboard. Cumin is one of the oldest and most popular spices in the world. Organic cumin has a very distinctive, strong flavour that is and important spice (and smell) in Moroccan kitchens and in Mexican cooking. Use Steenbergs organic ground cumin (or organic cumin powder) to Moroccan cooked dishes and salads or in any Mexican chilli dish, most curries. As one of the most popular spices organic cumin can be added to most savoury dishes.
Cumin plants, Cuminum cyminum, are small, delicate looking annuals with slender branched stems that grow to 60cm high (24 inches), which somehow do not seem quite right for such an earthy, robustly flavoured spice. Because of their weakness, the stems are weighed down by the cumin fruit that follow the tiny, pink flowers. Cumin leaves are deep green, frond-like and divided into long, narrow segments similar to fennel leaves. Cumin seeds are 4-5mm in length (¼ inch). Cumin seeds are pretty straight with only a slight curve, thin at 1-2mm (⅛ inch) thick, with a colour that ranges from a pale grey-brown through to a khaki. If you look closely, each seed has 9 fine ridges running along its length and a hair-like, tail or flagella that is 2mm (⅛ inch) long at one end. Cumin plants are harvested for the seeds when the plant has finished flowering and before the ripe fruits fall. The stems are scythed down, then hung in the shade to dry, or sometimes just cut and left to dry. They are threshed then rubbed to remove most of the fine flagella tails. The aroma of cumin seeds are pungent, warm, earthy, lingering and sweet, with the earthiness the most predominant aroma and flavour. To these aromas, the flavour profile has a slightly bitter warmth, which can sometimes become rather too bitter.