Caraway seeds

Caraway is a plant in the family Apiaceae whose seeds are used as a spice. The plant is similar in appearance to other members of the carrot family.

The fruits of the plant are usually referred to as seeds.

Caraway has been called by many names in different regions; karon, carum, karavi, and carvi in France. Caraway is sometimes called “wild cumin". The fruits, usually used whole, have a pungent, anise-like flavor and aroma that comes from essential oils, mostly carvone, limonene, and anethole. Caraway is used as a spice in breads, especially rye bread.

Caraway was well known in classic days, and it is believed that its use originated with the ancient Arabs, who called the 'seeds' Karawya, a name they still bear in the East, and clearly the origin of our word Caraway and the Latin name Carvi, although Pliny would have us believe that the name Carvi was derived from Caria, in Asia Minor, where according to him the plant was originally found. In old Spanish the name occurs as Alcaravea.

Caraway is frequently mentioned by the old writers. Dioscorides advised the oil to be taken by pale-faced girls.

In the Middle Ages and in Shakespeare's times it was very popular. The seed,' says Parkinson 'is much used to be put among baked fruit, or into bread, cakes, etc., to give them a relish. It is also made into comfits and taken for cold or wind in the body, which also are served to the table with fruit.'

© 2018 Wessel Woortman

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