Nigella seeds - Verstegen Algemeen

Nigella seeds

The spice nigella seed is also called black cumin seed, although the spice has nothing to do with cumin seed at all.


Nigella seed grows on an annual plant that can reach a height of about 60 cm. The plant grows light blue or white flowers. The seeds grow in the follicles of fruits and are narrow, pear-shaped and white. They turn black as soon as they come into contact with oxygen.

The origin of nigella seed

The origin of nigella seed is in Western Asia. The spice has now spread all over the world in places with a subtropical climate. India, Egypt and Turkey are the main export countries. Nigella seed is now also exported from China, Australia, Morocco, Iran and various countries in Europe. The best quality nigella seed can be found in Egypt, which is where Verstegen's nigella seed comes from.

Nigella seed in the kitchen

The taste of dried nigella seed is neutrally spicy and can be compared to thyme and oregano. In addition, it is somewhat bitter and peppery, which in turn resembles the taste of juniper berries. These are all flavors that you can also find in Turkish and Persian cuisine. In those kitchens, nigella seed is mainly used to flavor or garnish bread and dough dishes. The seed is also widely used in Turkish white cheese. In Indian cuisine, you will often find the spice as a topping on the typical Indian naan bread.