The key difference between fennel and cumin is that fennel seeds have a sweet flavour with a strong anise seed and Licorice notes, whereas cumin seeds have an earthy and smoky note with a little bitterness.
Both fennel and cumin are flavourful and aromatic spices that look similar. They have medicinal values as well. Fennel seeds can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes, while cumin seeds are often limited to savoury dishes. Cumin seeds are also used in making homemade curry powder and cosmetics, and the components taken from cumin oil is used in making perfume as well.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Fennel
3. What is Cumin
4. Fennel vs Cumin in Tabular Form
5. Summary – Fennel vs Cumin
What is Fennel?
Fennel is a flowering plant that belongs to the carrot family. It’s scientific name is Foeniculum vulgare. The word ‘fennel’ originated from the Middle English word ‘fenel’, which was derived from the Latin word ‘feniculum’. This plant is a perennial herbal plant and is also recognized as a hardy crop. This delicate plant is about 2.5 m in height and is yellow in color. It also has feathery leaves that are about 40cm long. This plant is endemic to the shores of the Mediterranean. However, this plant has been largely naturalized in many parts of the world, especially in dry coastal areas and riverbanks.
Fennel has a high aromatic flavour and is used in cooking. Dried fennel seeds are used as spices as well. Usually, a raw fennel bulb has about 212g of water and 2.91g of protein. Other than that, it has fat, carbohydrates, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc and many other nutrients, which provides up to 72.8 calories in total.
What is Cumin?
Cumin is a flowing plant that belongs to the Apiaceae family. The word ‘cumin’ was derived from the Latin word ‘cuminum’. This plant is native to the Irano-Turanian region. This dried seed herb is a member of the parsley family. The cumin plant is about 30-50 cm in height. This plant originated in regions like Central Asia, Southwestern Asia and the Eastern Mediterranean and has been widely used as a spice. Cumin is used in Persian cuisines and can also be found in various cheese and bread varieties. Now, this plant is grown mostly in the Indian subcontinent, Northern Africa, Mexico, Chile, and China.
Cumin seeds are nutritious as they contain monounsaturated fats, protein, dietary fibre, vitamin B and many other nutrients. These seeds are also used in making cosmetics. Cumin oil is used in making perfumes and essential oils as well.
What is the Difference Between Fennel and Cumin?
Fennel is a flowering plant that belongs to the carrot family while cumin is a flowing plant that belongs to the Apiaceae family. The key difference between fennel and cumin is that fennel seeds have a sweet flavour with a strong anise seed and Licorice notes, while cumin seeds have an earthy and smoky note with a little bitterness. Moreover, fennel seeds are green in colour whereas cumin seeds are brown in colour.
The following infographic lists the differences between fennel and cumin in tabular form for side by side comparison.
Summary – Fennel vs Cumin
Fennel is a flowering plant that belongs to the carrot family. It is about 2.5 m in height and has small, yellow flowers and green edible seeds about 4-10 mm long. This perennial, hardy plant is very aromatic and nutritious. It has feathery leaves about 40cm long. This plant is endemic to the shores of the Mediterranean. Cumin is a flowing plant that belongs to the Apiaceae family. It is about 30-50 cm in height and has small white or pink flowers. Its seeds are brown, and those edible seeds are oblong and rigid. Cumin seeds which are native to the Irano-Turanian region, are used in making different food items such as Leyden cheese and traditional French bread. Thus, this is the summary of the difference between fennel and cumin.
1. “Fennel.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 27 July 2021.
2. “Cumin.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 7 Sept. 2021.
1. “Fennel seed” By Howcheng – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Cumin Seeds” By Sugeesh – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
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