Caraway is the seed of a plant in the carrot, parsley and celery family. The fruit of the plant splits into two curved seeds. Caraway has a warm and spicy fragrance and flavor.
Caraway has been used since the Roman times to flavor vegetable and fish dishes. In the middle ages, it was popular as a flavoring for soups and bean and cabbage dishes. Later, English bakers began using it in confections, breads and cakes.
Holland and Germany are the major producers of Caraway. Although it is native to Asia as well as northern and central Europe. It is cultivated as a biennial and can be grown across much of the world. The stems of the plant are cut as the fruit is ripening and then dried for 7-10 days.
Add caraway to baking to add a bittersweet and spicy note. It is used in rye bread and many other hearty dishes such as sausage, cabbage, and stews and soups. It is also common in North African cuisine including tabil and harissa.
Herbs and Spices by Jill Norman
The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart