If you go through the spice cabinets, you will always find Caraway in them. But why is it so? And what is Caraway? Caraway is also referred to as Meridian Fennel or sometimes Persian Cumin. It belongs to the Apiaceae family of plants. Caraway is a native plant of North Africa, Western Asia, and Europe.
Caraway is a dried seed. In the past, it was mostly used for medical purposes due to its exceptional health benefits. Caraway comes in two forms, i.e., ground and whole. Though both of these forms have different appearances, they are mostly used for the same purpose. Therefore, it is one of the most used spices around the globe. From cakes to cooked food, this spice makes an important part of our recipes. However, it does not have as significant a historical appearance as the other spices like cinnamon, black peppercorn, garlic, etc.
What does Caraway Look Like?
Caraway looks like small seeds. It has achenes that have a crescent-like shape. Each seed is around 2mm. Moreover, if we talk about the plant, the plant has the same appearance as a carrot. So its plant is easy to identify. But you must have a little knowledge about it. The plant has feathery leaves. Each leaf has a size of around 20cm to 30cm. The plant also has a stem for the main flower. This stem has around 40cm to 60cm in height. The flowers are small. They normally have either pink or white color. The plant also has fruits called Caraway seeds. These make the real Caraway spice.
Where does Caraway Come From?
Caraway comes from the Caraway plant, which is also called the Carum Carvi. This plant has a lifecycle of more than two years. It starts bearing seeds in the second year. The green leaves of the plant grow in a group of three or in pairs. The Caraway plant needs well-tilled and drained soil to grow. For better growth, it also needs full sun.
How is Caraway Made?
Once the Caraway plant is completely grown, you can start harvesting it. The best season to harvest is late summer or at the start of fall. Once the flowers die, the seeds form. Then, you should cut the stems of the flower. Afterward, tie all the branches. Hang the branches over any container and start shaking it to collect the falling seeds. You have to put the seeds on for few days to let them dry. Once the seeds dry, then you can put them in the container. You can also use the grinder for getting ground form.
What Does Caraway Taste Like?
Caraway has a great and sharp aroma with a distinctive taste. It has an anise-like taste that adds licorice flavor to the dishes. This spice also gives a little earthy taste like pepper and citrus.
How is Caraway Used in Cooking?
Caraway seeds can be used with all types of recipes. For example, in cooking, you can either add it and other spices to let it cook well with the food and release flavor. Or you can also sprinkle it at the end just to get a little aroma. Besides, some people also use the ground Caraway seeds for seasoning their food like salt and pepper. This is a common practice in Germany. People mostly do so on their drinks, cabbage dishes, bread, fried potatoes, and more.
What Types of Cuisines Use Caraway?
From baking to cooking, Caraway is used in almost all types of cuisines. In the European region, Caraway seeds are highly used in baking. Some cuisines include rye bread, Caraway seed cake, and Irish soda bread. While in other regions, it is added in curries, vegetables, sausages, and soups to have a better taste and scent. Moreover, whole Caraway seeds also enhance the taste of pork, cabbage, and garlic. And their combination makes a very delicious cuisine.
Along with cooked and baked items, Caraway is also widely used for liqueurs. And this is normally done in European countries and Russia. Some liqueurs include kummel, Akvavit, and more. Additionally, some cooks also use it to infuse flavor in cheese. This includes different types of cheeses such as Pultost, Tilsit, Bondost, and Havarti.
What is a Caraway Substitute?
Caraway has various substitutes. The list includes anise seed, ground cumin, fennel seeds, and coriander. So, next time when you get out of Caraway, use them to get your work done.
Where to Buy Caraway?
If you want to buy Caraway seeds, then we have some good suggestions for you. We have listed some top products for you.