Carum Carvi L.

The annual to biennial caraway plant from the parsley family reaches a height of up to 1 metre. Its pinnate, lanceolate leaves slightly resemble carrot greens. The tiny flowers arranged in umbels produce the roughly 2.5 mm-long, brown seeds. Harvesting begins as soon as the fruits of the uppermost umbel ripen. The sheaves are dried until the seeds are ripe and then threshed.

Countries of origin

America, Central Asia, Europe, Russia
Remains of food containing caraway seed have been found in excavations of European pile-dwellings from the Bronze Age and in the grave chambers of the Pharaohs. These findings indicate how long caraway seed has been used as a spice. It has been growing all over Europe and into the Orient for thousands of years. Today, caraway seed is primarily cultivated in the Netherlands, Germany (East Frisian Islands) and Poland.

Flavour and aroma

Caraway seed has an unmistakeable warm and slightly bitter aroma. It gives foods an aromatic, hearty flavour. Hearty dishes such as stews, pork roast, lamb roast, goulash, sauerkraut; also used in bread and baked goods, potatoes and cheese Caraway seed is mainly used to season cabbage dishes, thick stews, soups and rich potato dishes. Although a somewhat bold and coarse spice, it is also indispensable in stocks for lobster, crawfish and crab. It gives a piquant flavour to sauces and cheeses and is also familiar as one of the main seasonings for bread. Caraway seed oil is used industrially in the making of spirits and herb liqueurs.

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