Our Wild Mountain Cumin has a savory, penetrating aroma and bright, umami flavor. The tiny, oblong black seeds are hand-picked by foragers in the Hindu Kush mountains of Afghanistan. Botanically distinct from common cumin, 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 seeds are smaller and softer than the cumin you may be used to, and they do not need to be ground before use.
- Bloom seeds in hot oil or ghee and use as the base for stews, curries or braises
- Grind seeds and mix with other spices like coriander and black pepper for a savory protein rub
- Mix whole seeds into guacamole, vinaigrettes or yogurt-based spreads
Our Wild Mountain Cumin is sourced directly from networks of foragers in the Hindu Kush mountain range of Badakhshan province in the northeastern corner of Afghanistan. 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.
Meet the Forager: Ali collects our Wild Mountain Cumin from foragers who bring it down from the high mountains of Afghanistan's Hindu Kush to Faizabad, where he cleans it and prepares it for shipment.
- Wild Mountain Cumin
The only cumin I'll ever use..so aromatic
I bought a bottle when I was buying beans from another company and I needed something small to bump my total up to free shipping. I love cumin, but I wasn't expecting this to be extraordinary. And yet it was. I've been just using this for when I make shakshuka and add whole seeds. It barely needs toasting and is so small it doesn't ever get grainy in my teeth. It just flavors the dish as evenly as if it were ground, while still having the flavor freshness of whole spices. I'm now finding that I am a little disappointed when I'm using my regular cumin and am considering keeping this as the only one I stock.