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Sunday, December 20, 2015

25 Days of Herbs and Celebrations - December 20

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 20

Herb:  Nigella, Nigella sp.   Isaiah 28:26, different translations of the Bible refer to Cumin, Black Cumin, or Black Caraway, which of God’s instructions for sowing and reaping.  25. Does he not level its surface And sow dill and scatter cummin And plant wheat in rows, Barley in its place and rye within its area? 26  For his God instructs and teaches him properly. 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.

Two plants share the name Black Cumin, Bunium bulbocastanum and Nigella sativa.  For the purposes of this post we will discuss Nigella, aka Love-In-A-Mist.

Nigella --Love-In-A-Mist (also called Black Onion Seed) is an unusual and striking flower, also called Black Onion Seed, and Black Cumin and used in East Indian foods.  The seeds smell like strawberries and taste like pepper, a most interesting spice.

Nigella grows well in our desert gardens, preferring the cooler months, seed in a sunny spot with good drainage.  Let the flower go to full maturity to harvest the seeds for culinary use and later re-sowing.

I have really enjoyed growing this flower, with all of the textural contrasts it is very pretty in the garden.

Prepare Yule Log ready to light tomorrow or Christmas Eve.  To turn night into day in the home/Emblem of the return of the Sun, and the lengthening of the Days.


They're [Nigella seed] also part of the spice mixture called panch phoran, along with fenugreek, mustard, fennel and cumin seeds, common in Bengali dishes. Bread seems to be a cross-cultural use for nigella seeds—aside from naan, it's also used to top flatbreads in Turkey and elsewhere in the Middle East, and in Eastern Europe is sprinkled on Jewish rye bread in place of caraway seeds.  – Smithsonian Mag

Epicurious suggests substituting Nigella for Sesame in baked breads, etc.

Here are a couple of recipes from Epicurious for using Nigella Seeds


Happy Holiday (From the movie “Holiday Inn” )
Bing Crosby

Simply Having A Wonderful Christmas Time
Paul McCartney

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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