History: Caraway (Carum carvi) is also known as meridian fennel or Persian cumin. It is a biennial plant in the family Apiaceae that is native to
western Asia, Europe and North Africa. It is a member of the group of aromatic, umbelliferous plants, like anise, cumin, dill and fennel, that have
carminative (gas-preventing) properties. The fruits (seeds) are used in flavoring in cookery, confectionery and liquors.
Cultivation: The plants is similar in appearance to other members of the carrot family with finely divided feathery leaves with thread-like divisions growing on 8-12 in. stems. The main flower stem is 16-24 in. tall with small white or pink flowers in umbels. The fruits are dry crescent shaped seeds, 08 in. long with five pale ridges. The plant prefers warm, sunny locations and well-drained soil rich in organic matter. It is usually planted as an annual. There are several varieties – English, Dutch and German that are obtained from plants in Moravia and Prussia and others that are imported from Norway, Finland, Russia and Morocco.
Uses: The fruits are usually used whole and have a pungent anise-like flavor. They are frequently used in rye bread. They are also used in desserts, liquors, casseroles, Indian and European cuisine. It is frequently added to sauerkraut. The roots may be cooked like carrots and the leaves may be used raw, dried or cooked like parsley. In Serbia, caraway is commonly sprinkled on salty scones or is used to flavor various cheeses. In Middle Eastern cuisine, caraway pudding is a popular dessert during Ramadan. Caraway is also used to flavor harissa, a Tunisian chili pepper paste. Caraway is also used as a fragrance component in soaps, lotions and perfumes. It is also used as a breath freshener