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< prev - next > Food processing Herbs and spices KnO 100206_Cumin (Printable PDF)
Cumin processing
Practical Action
Grinding can be a method of adding value to a product. However, it is not advisable to grind
spices. After grinding, spices are more vulnerable to spoilage. The flavour and aroma compounds
are not stable and will quickly disappear from ground products. The storage life of ground spices
is much less than for the whole spices. It is very difficult for the consumer to judge the quality
of a ground spice. It is also very easy for unscrupulous processors to contaminate the ground
spice by adding other material. Therefore most consumers, from wholesalers to individual
customers, prefer to buy whole spices.
Cumin seeds are available as whole seeds and ground powder.
Cumin seeds can be packaged in polythene bags of various sizes according to the market
demand. The bags should be sealed to prevent moisture entering. Sealing machines can be used
to seal the bags. Attractive labels should be applied to the products. The label needs to contain
all relevant product and legal information the name of the product, brand name (if
appropriate), details of the manufacturer (name and address), date of manufacture, expiry date,
weight of the contents, added ingredients (if relevant) plus any other information that the
country of origin and of import may require (a barcode, producer code and packer code are all
extra information that is required in some countries to help trace the product back to its origin).
See the Practical Action Technical Brief on labelling for further information on labelling
Dried cumin seeds must be stored in moisture-proof containers away from direct sunlight. The
stored seeds should be inspected regularly for signs of spoilage or moisture. If they have
absorbed moisture, they should be re-dried to a moisture content of 10%.
The storage room should be clean, dry, cool and free from pests. Mosquito netting should be
fitted on the windows to prevent pests and insects from entering the room. Strong smelling
foods, detergents and paints should not be stored in the same room as they will spoil the
delicate aroma and flavour of the cumin.
The Indian standard for dried cumin is as follows:
Moisture (%) (wet basis)
Damaged seeds (% by weight)
Extraneous matter (% by weight)
Shrivelled, immature (% by
Equipment suppliers
This is a selective list of suppliers of equipment and does not imply endorsement by Practical
This website includes lists of companies in India who supply food processing equipment.,,1b_0_32/fruit+processing/index.html