Premium Wild Mountain Cumin Whole Seeds are hand-picked by foragers in the Hindu Kush mountains of Afghanistan. They are tiny, oblong and black with long stems. Botanically distinct from common cumin (Cuminum cyminum), our wild mountain cumin is renowned in Afghanistan and throughout central and south Asia for its delicious flavor as well as its medicinal properties. It has a savory, penetrating aroma and bright, umami flavor evocative of grilled meats and sweet caramelized onions.
The Hindu Kush range is characterized by steep, rocky peaks cut through by green river valleys; the significant snowfall in the winter results in abundant vegetation in the short spring and summer seasons despite low rainfall. The rocky soil cultivates an ancient and resilient varietal of cumin with a warm pungent flavor and irresistible aroma.
The cumin grows wild and other than the small quantities we export, is harvested only for local consumption; there is no scalability or institutional infrastructure for export, and we are only able to source this very rare cumin varietal because of Burlap & Barrel founder Ethan’s years working in Badakhshan and surrounding provinces.
Burlap & Barrel is the only importer of wild mountain cumin from Afghanistan. Our cumin grows wild and can be considered naturally organic as no pesticides or other chemicals are used in its cultivation.
Cumin tends to bring out the sweetness of other foods. This is an incredibly versatile spice that will enhance the flavor of of everything from Sichuan to Spanish Paella. It has a savory, penetrating aroma combined withy bright, umami flavor notes.