Cumin was originally cultivated in Iran and the Mediterranean region. It was a staple spice for the ancient Greeks, who kept it on their dining tables much like we keep salt and pepper close at hand today. The ancient Egyptians used it as both a spice and a preservative that was part of the mummification process. Cumin is even mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible and has been found at multiple archeological sites. In fact, over its long and storied history, cumin has played a major role in the culinary traditions of many societies and was also used for religious and medicinal purposes in many cultures. Eventually, it was introduced to the Americas by Portuguese and Spanish colonists, where it was assimilated into the local food culture. Today, cumin remains an incredibly popular spice and plays a key role in culinary traditions all around the world.