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Cumin (Jeera) is the pale green seed of Cuminum cyminum, a small herb in the parsley family. The seed is uniformly elliptical and deeply furrowed. Cumin is frequently used in Mexican dishes such as chili con carne and hot tamales. Cumin has a distinctive, slightly bitter yet warm flavor. An ancient spice, Cumin is native to the shores of the Mediterranean Sea and Egypt. Cumin is one of the ancient spices, as mentioned in the Old Testament. The increasing popularity of Mexican influenced foods is boosting the sale of Cumin. For a change of pace, try ground Cumin added to tangy lime or lemon-based marinades for chicken, turkey, lamb, and pork or, add Cumin to chili, spicy meat stews, barbecue marinades, and sauces. Stir toasted Cumin into corn muffin batter to create an easy south of the border accent. Heat Cumin and garlic in olive oil and drizzle over cooked vegetables or potatoes. Ground Cumin is stronger than whole seeds. The Cumin flavor is accentuated by toasting.