Also called: wild cumin, Roman cumin, carvies, caraway seed

The sweet, peppery, anise-laced caraway seed is one of our oldest culinary spices. Evidence of caraway in food can be traced back about 5000 years. Roman soldiers supped on caraway bread, and the spread of the Roman empire resulted in the spread of caraway.

A member of the parsley family, caraway is grown throughout Europe, although Holland’s is thought to have the best flavor. Caraway is used extensively in the German, Austrian and Eastern European cuisine in both savory (sauerkraut, cheese, sausage, bread) and sweet (cakes, cookies, sweet breads) dishes. You’ll also find caraway in the liqueur K├╝mmel, the Scandinavian liquor Aquavit, and in gin and schnapps.

Like anise, caraway is an excellent breath freshener and is often taken after meals. Munch a few seeds after dinner, and you’ll not only freshen your breath, but settle your stomach and prevent flatulence.

If you grow caraway yourself, try tossing chopped leaves into a salad or baking the carrot-like root as you would parsnips.

Caraway is offered at supermarkets both in seed form and ground.

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