Cumin (Jeera) is the dried, white fruit with greyish brown colour of a small slender annual herb. Cumin seed have an aromatic odour and bitter taste. The surface of the fruit has 5 primary ridges, alternatively has 4 less distinct secondary ridges bearing numerous short hairs. The plant is 15 to 50 cm high. The aromatic seed like fruit is elongated, ovoid, 3 to 6 mm long, slightly bitter and has a warm flavour. The flowers are white or rose coloured in small umbels. It is used as a condiment, and is an ingredient in curry powders, seasonings of breads, cakes and cheese. In medicine, it is used as a stimulant, carminative, stomachic and astringent.
Although the small cumin seed looks rather unassuming, its nutty peppery flavor packs a punch when it comes to adding a nutty and peppery flavor to chili and other Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes as well playing an important role in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine where it is a key component of curry powder.