Nigella ‘Black Cumin’
Nigella, also known as Black Cumin, is an annual, flowering plant native to Asia and the Middle East.
Its wispy, elegant, blue flowers look stunning in any garden or balcony arrangement; if you can resist picking the delicate blooms, the seed pods that develop from the flowers are equally glorious. In fact, the seeds are the edible part of the plant and are widely used in Indian, Middle Eastern and Slavic cooking for their strong aroma and spicy taste.
If you ever enjoyed Turkish bread and wondered what the tasty little black seed on top of it was—it’s Nigella Black Cumin. It’s hard to believe that such a delicate little flower packs such a flavourful punch, indispensable in Indian and Asian cuisine.
|Latin name||Nigella sativa|
|Plant size|| Height: 30 cm|
Width: 20 cm
|Container size|| Height: 30 cm|
Width: 20 cm
|Companion plant(s)||Strawberries, carrots, calendula, nasturtium, borage|
|Planting outdoors||Apr to Sep|
|Germination||10 to 15 days|
|Harvesting||80 to 100 days|
|Planting||3 cm to 5 cm apart at 0.5cm depth|
|Thinning||20 cm to 30 cm|
|Soil||Well-drained, fertile and moist|
|Watering||Regular, moderate watering|
|Caring||Taking care of Nigella is simple: water during dry times, feed regularly and deadhead spent blooms to encourage the growth of more flowers or collect seeds from dried seedpods.|
|Beneficial wildlife||Attracts bees and butterflies.|
|Pests||Repels the carrot fly.|
|Harvesting||Nigella seeds can be harvested in late summer and stored for use throughout the year. Ensure that the black seeds are completely dry, then store them in an airtight container.|
|Eating|| Medicinal properties: Among many of its health benefits, there is also a belief that eating the seed will make a woman's breasts plumper.|
How to eat: Black Cumin seeds, also known as kalonji in Hindi, have an oregano-like quality with herbaceous notes, a slight bitterness and a warm, toasted-onion flavour. Each country has a peculiar traditional recipe for it: naan bread in India, string cheese in the Middle East, preserved lemons in Morocco, to name but a few.