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Sunday, December 13, 2015

25 Days of Herbs and Celebrations - December 13

Dear Folks,

Celebrating the Multicultural festivities of December, I thought I would pick an herb or spice which is referenced in the Bible (land of three of the Major Religions of the world) and used in many cuisines around the entire world, as a way of gathering together all the wealth of diversity around us - in true celebration. 
Day 13
Herb: Cumin, Cuminum cyminum, Isiah 28:27 “For dill is not threshed with a threshing sledge, Nor is the cartwheel driven over cummin; But dill is beaten out with a rod, and cummin with a club”, Matthew 23:23 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices--mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law--justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”

Hanukkah  Continues
Cumin along with other herbs was so valued it was used as currency in the Biblical areas of the world.  A member of the Apiaceae (carrot) family, it is from the East Mediterranean to India, and used in many culture’s cooking.
Cumin was introduced to the Americas by Spanish and Portuguese colonists (Wikipedia), and is widely used in Spanish, Asian and Middle Eastern foods.  Indeed most any of these culture’s savory dishes are enhanced with cumin.
Growing Cumin is very similar to growing cilantro.  Plant the seed (soak first) for sowing in the fall.  While the leaves and flowers are edible (choose young leaves for eating – the older ones are tougher), it is the seeds which have the most flavor and harvesting is when the seeds are tan and dry.  The time from sowing to harvesting the seed can be about 120 (4 months) days so plant and plan accordingly.  You can have multiple harvests if you sow early in the fall (late August/early September) and then 3-4 weeks later and another sowing 3-4 weeks after that.
My recipe for Traditional style bean chili has a nice dose of Cumin and would be a warming dish for a chilly night.
Chili Con Frijoles or Bean Chili
For a Savory and Fragrant Quick Bread to serve with meals, check out this
Cumin Quick Bread
It’s The Most Wonderful Time of The Year
Andy Williams
I’m Getting Nuttin’ For Christmas

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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