Cumin (Children)

We sometimes use cumin in our food. I like it when we mix it with flour to make bread.

Jacob and I go to the hills to collect its seeds. When we have enough we bring them back. I then help to grind them into a powder. Granny says we must collect only enough for us to use at it loses its taste quickly.

Grow you cumin

  • Gently sprinkle the seeds onto moist soil.
  • Carefully cover the soil with a couple of centimeters of soil.
  • Make sure that the soil is damp and that they are placed somewhere warm and where there is a lot of light.
  • In one or two weeks you will begin to see your cumin plants appear.
  • If you want to plant these in the garden, make sure that the weather is warm and that you place each plant 2-3 feet apart.
  • Cumin need to be somewhere that gets full sunlight.
  • The herb should be watered regularly, and eventually harvested after roughly 3 to 4 months.

For older children

Cumin is a member of the parsley herb family, and is mostly used as an ingredient in curry powder and other Indian foods. You might find a jar of ground cumin powder in your kitchen. It tastes rather ‘earthy’ and goes well with curries.

Cumin grows best during summer time, and takes around 3-4 months to become fully grown. When planting, you must make sure you sow the seeds less than an inch below the soil, 2-3 feet apart for the best results. The soil should be kept moist throughout the months, and should be harvested after around 120 days.

In Matthew’s Gospel, cumin is said to have been donated to the poor as acts of charity by the Pharisees. In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus says:

“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 practised the latter, without neglecting the former.”

Matthew 23;23 (NIV)

This quote from Jesus encourages the Pharisees to pay more attention to the crimes and law within society as well as donating to the poor. The fact that giving cumin to the less fortunate is seen as a generous act, means that it was probably a very valuable resource for people at that time.

Cumin is also mentioned in Isaiah 28:25 and 27, where it says:

25 When they have levelled its surface,
   do they not scatter dill, sow cummin,
and plant wheat in rows
   and barley in its proper place,
   and spelt as the border?

27 Dill is not threshed with a threshing-sledge,
   nor is a cartwheel rolled over cummin;
but dill is beaten out with a stick,
   and cummin with a rod.

Isaiah 28:25 and 27 (NRSV)

This refers to farming practises at the time of Isaiah and which would have been practised Jesus’ time. Cumin seeds would be sewn by sprinkling them on the ground to allow them to grow. At the time of the harvest, the plants would be hit with sticks to release their seeds – a little like shaking the branch of an apple tree to make the apples fall. If this was a common farming technique, then again we can conclude that cumin must have been a resource of high value during the time of the Bible.