With stems producing feathery, finger-like leaves, caraway is commonly referred to as fennel and cumin. Part of the parsley family, it sometimes resembles members of the carrot family. Grown all over the world, Finland and Canada are two of the main producers.
It is actually native to Asia, North Africa and Europe. Mainly cultivated for its fruit which is most often mistaken for a seed, caraway is used in a host of dishes and breads.
Benefits of Caraway
Caraway seeds and oil can be used to relieve quite a few adverse health conditions. It is a great plant to have around for baking in breads and as a spice for main dishes and desserts. Caraway can even be an added to flavor cheese.
Caraway’s essential oils are thought to help with female reproductive issues like menstruation and even with irritable bowel syndrome. Caraway has also been used topically in helping to improve the blood flow to the skin.
How to Grow Caraway
When growing caraway, it is essential to have it in a sunny location and planted in good soil about ½ inch deep. Typically, it is planted as an annual and in the winter. In cooler climates, it can be planted in the summer as well.
In the first or second year of growth the leaves may be cut to add to salads or main dishes. The seeds, upon appearing may be harvested. A quick way to do this is to cut the stem or pull by the roots and place in a paper bag to shake.
Uses of Caraway
If the culinary pursuits are where your interest lies, then you should have some caraway on hand. As more of the world’s cuisine melds together, it creates opportunities for more traditional dishes to be expounded upon by introducing more exotic flavors like Caraway.
Caraway is one of those spices that is not as prevalent in recipes and can be used as a surprise ingredient. It is more typically used in rye bread, desserts liquors and main dishes. It is typical to see caraway in European dishes and cheeses like blondest and havarti.
Caraway is an excellent herb to treat upset stomach, gas, bloating and heartburn. It is also used commonly for killing bacteria in the body and constipation. It is even used in toothpaste and soap.