What is cumin?

What is cumin focuses on a wonderful spice from Asia.

It's the day to make hummus; there is nothing unusual in that, since I do it at least twice a week. It normally takes about five minutes but this morning it is going to be a little longer; I have run out of freshly-roasted cumin seeds.

Roasting cumin seedsInexpensive cumin seeds

The page was revised by Dr Bernard Preston DC on 9th May, 2023.

Cumin is one of those special spices. I simply love it but it loses its flavour quite quickly once crushed and exposed to air. So I roast and grind only a small amount of the seeds; enough perhaps for about two week's worth of hummus and Indian chicken.

Every time I make the chickpea paste with freshly-roasted cumin I notice how much more flavoursome it is; and how it gets slightly bitter, unpleasantly so when it's old. If one is going to go through all the effort of baking or cooking then, in my opinion it is only worth the time if you use the best ingredients.

For just five-minutes of labour, with hints of the divine incense of heaven this is definitely a must.

I buy a large packet of the seeds from the Indian spice shop; they call it "jeera." Toss a few heaped tablespoons into a heavy frying pan and turn the temperature up high for about two minutes; shake it so they don't burn. Soon you will hear a crackling sound; and the most heavenly smoke reminding me of places like Delhi and Mombai.

Cumin burns easily so I keep shaking the pan; when they start to darken and the smell is intense, filling the whole kitchen with a scent like incense, pour the seeds into the little spice-blender. Turn the heat off sooner rather than later.

Whirl it for a second, inhaling deep gulps of the fumes,and you're ready to make hummus. I could get high with a little help from friends like this.

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What is cumin?

Roasting cumin seeds vapour

What is cumin is in answer to a question about the ingredients needed to make your own authentic hummus recipe at home. It's an Indian spice that gives off a heavenly aroma when you are roasting it.

Having blended the cumin, it's best to preserve it immediately either by freezing in small containers; I find it easier to simply cover the whole with olive oil. That will keep the air out, otherwise it starts oxidising immediately.

In fact if I had enough hours on my hands, which I don't, I would roast these cumin-seeds each time I make our authentic hummus recipe. It definitely tastes better when they are fresh.

So when faced with a need for cumin, roast only small quantities at a time. Certainly no more than in the blender below. The whole process after all takes less than ten-minutes. Done once every couple weeks is hardly an undertaking if you want truly divine hummus with your green salad.

Blending roasted cumin seeds

Creating a divine green salad

Use the Site Search tab above to find out more about fresh cumin in "quick hummus" for creating a divine green salad.

Enjoying eight coloured foods a day means a 35% lower all-cause of death; that's massive. The rich flavour that it gives a salad is so good I would be tempted even if it shortened my life. Greens can be a little dull; dips rich in lipids like hummus promote better absorption of the carotenoids.

Those are the phytochemicals that reduce your chance of getting the dreaded lurgy. What is cumin is a central ingredient in your authentic chickpea dip.

Hummus with cumin and vegan seed bread

So on top of all the greens, add as many coloured salads as you can lay your hands on; below are sweet peppers and tomatoes.


Our newsletter is entitled "create a cyan zone" at your home, preserving both yourself and Mother Earth for future generations; and your family too, of course. We promise not to spam you with daily emails promoting various products. You may get an occasional nudge to buy one of my books.

Here are the back issues.

  • ´╗┐Lifestyle and ideal body weight
  • ´╗┐What are ultra-processed foods?
  • Investing in long-term health
  • Diseases from plastic exposure
  • Intensive lifestyle management for obesity has limited value
  • A world largely devoid of Parkinson's Disease
  • The impact of friendly bacteria in the tum on the prevention of cancer
  • There's a hole in the bucket
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  • Microplastics from our water
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Oh and I think I can see a peppadew lurking next to the yellow-paprika; they give your salad a little spice.

There are several different kinds of lettuce to be enjoyed, fresh coriander and parsley; and a couple of leaves of red-sorrel at 7 o'clock.

Some cooks sprinkle paprika on the hummus; it looks very pretty but if you look on your spice bottle you'll probably find you purchased it about seven-years ago.

So I often take a mixture of peppadews, perhaps a little jalapeno and sweet red paprika, chop them very finely and spread it over what is really just a spicy garbanzo-bean dip.

A divine green salad

Creating a divine green salad with plenty of extra colours is not that difficult.

I confess it; I am nutty about great tasting, slow food that can be made fast. Those that are rich in the micronutrients like betaine that are so important for our well-being.

Authentic hummus recipe

The joy of our authentic hummus recipe is that with a little practice you can make it in only four minutes; what is cumin is a vital ingredient to be understood.

Then you have enough protein for your lunch without having hams, polonies and other processed meats; it's beyond debate, there is strong research proving they are a leading cause of malignant tumours. So says the World Health Organization.

I will admit to be obsessed about creating a Cyan Zone at our home; caring for ourselves and the planet. These are blue and green issues. What are legumes pertains to both.

As we have grown older Blue Zone longevity has become far more of a focus; we are not anti-medicine but we are doing our level best to stay away from doctors and pharmacies. We really would like to reach a zestful and strong eighty and perhaps even ninety.

And enjoying more legumes for protein is an intensely green issue, producing far less greenhouse gases but not without its own controversies. Chopping down the Amazon forests to provide soybeans for a hungry world is hardly the way to go.


We went to an Indian restaurant on Boxing Day and enjoyed the most incredible dish called Saag, made from spinach, kale and cumin; and cashew nuts. I can't wait to try it. Not all dishes from the subcontinent are loaded with chili.

This great tasting Indian saag recipe is now a winner in our home; go light on the cumin.

Bernard Preston

Bernard Preston is a semi retired DC with a passion for wellness and leaving behind a habitable planet for our grandchildren. Soon there will be more plastic literally than fish in the sea. What is cumin is simply a small diversion every few weeks. 

  • Will you join the struggle to wean off plastic? It's even contaminating most bottled water now.

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