Caraway Spice Profile
Posted by Rebekah Wicke on 12/4/17
What is Caraway?
Caraway seed is the fruit of a biennial herb which is similar to the carrot plant. As with all biennials, the caraway plant does not bear fruit (i.e., seeds) until its second year and is therefore often planted simultaneously with another crop which can be harvested in the first year. Two months before its harvest, round clusters of white flowers appear at the ends of smooth erect stems on the plant which reaches a height of 3 feet. When mature, these flowers give way to small fruits which contain
two crescent-shaped seeds commonly known as caraway.
Caraway is, by some accounts, the oldest known spice. It is grown today in The Netherlands and other parts of Europe, but Switzerland appears to be a primary early source. The seeds have been found in the remains of primitive lake inhabitants in Switzerland from over 5,000 years ago. Throughout history, it was used as a breath freshener and for numerous medicinal purposes. A Greek physician of the first century even prescribed caraway as a treatment for “pale-faced” girls.
What is it used for today?
The most common seasoning use for caraway seeds in the whole form is in rye bread. It may also be used in sauerkraut or other cabbage dishes. Though less prevalent, caraway is also used in its ground form in a number of sausage or other meat seasonings, especially deli-style meats.
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- Fuchs Admin