Caraway seed

Caraway rose nagpuria
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Apiales
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Carum
Species: C. carvi
Binomial name
Carum carvi
L.

Caraway (Carum carvi), also known as meridian fennel,[1][2][3][4][5] or Persian cumin,[3][5] is a biennial plant in the family Apiaceae,[6] native to western Asia, Europe and Northern Africa.

The plant is similar in appearance to other members of the carrot family, with finely divided, feathery leaves with thread-like divisions, growing on 20–30 cm stems. The main flower stem is 40–60 cm tall, with small white or pink flowers in umbels. Caraway fruits (erroneously called seeds) are crescent-shaped achenes, around 2 mm long, with five pale ridges.

Names and history

The etymology of caraway is complex and poorly understood.

Caraway has been called by many names in different regions, with names deriving from the Latin cuminum (cumin), the Greek karon (again, cumin), which was adapted into Latin as carum (now meaning caraway), and the Sanskrit karavi, sometimes translated as "caraway" but other times understood to mean "fennel".[7]

English usage of the term caraway dates back to at least 1440,[8] and is considered by Skeat to be of Arabic origin, though Katzer believes the Arabic al-karawya (cf. Spanish alcaravea) to be derived from the Latin carum.[7]

Uses



The fruits, usually used whole, have a pungent, anise-like flavor and aroma that comes from essential oils, mostly carvone and limonene. They are used as a spice in breads, especially rye bread.

Caraway is also used in desserts, liquors, casseroles, curry and other foods. It is more commonly found in European cuisine. For example, it is commonly used in British caraway seed cake and is also added to sauerkraut.[9][10][11][12][13] In Serbia, it is commonly sprinkled over home-made salty scones (pogačice s kimom). It is also used to add flavor to cheeses such as bondost, pultost, nøkkelost and havarti. Akvavit and several liqueurs are made with caraway. In Middle Eastern cuisine, caraway pudding is a popular dessert during Ramadan. Also it is typically made and served in Levant area in winter and in the occasion of having a new baby. [14] [15]

The roots may be cooked as a root vegetable like parsnips or carrots.

Additionally, leaves are sometimes consumed, either raw, dried, or cooked, as herbs, similar to parsley.[5]

Caraway fruit oil is also used as a fragrance component in soaps, lotions, and perfumes.

Caraway also has a long tradition of medical uses, primarily for stomach complaints. Emerging and ongoing research from Arabic regional studies suggest Carum Carvi use as an endocrine function support agent, specifically related to thyroid disorders and auto immune disease (see Hashimoto's thyroiditis)

Cultivation

The plant prefers warm, sunny locations and well-drained soil rich in organic matter. In warmer regions it is planted in the winter months as an annual. In temperate climates it is planted as a summer annual or biennial. There is however a polyploid variant (with four haploid sets=4n) of this plant that was found to be perennial.

Companion plant

Caraway, like many umbellifers, is a useful companion plant. It can hide the scent of neighboring crops from pest insects, as well as attracting beneficial insects like predatory wasps and predatory flies to its flowers.

Similar herbs

Caraway thyme has a strong caraway scent and is sometimes used as a substitute for real caraway in recipes.

Other similar members of the family Apiaceae include anise, fennel, dill, cumin, licorice-root (Ligusticum), and coriander (cilantro).[6]

References

External links

  • Caraway — Gernot Katzer's Spice Pages.
  • How to grow Caraway
  • History of Caraway
  • How to make Caraway Pudding
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