Caraway Facts

Caraway Facts
Caraway is herbaceous plant that belongs to the parsley family. It is also known as Persian cumin and Mediterranean fennel (due to similarities in the shape of fruit and leaves). Caraway originates from North Africa, Central Europe and Western Asia. It grows in the warm climate, on fertile, well-drained soil, in areas that provide enough sun. Caraway is part of human diet at least 8.000 years. Ancient Egyptians used caraway in treatment of various disorders. Caraway is still popular and widely used as spice and remedy.
Interesting Caraway Facts:
Caraway develops erect stem with numerous branches that can reach 31 inches in height.
Caraway has feathery leaves. They are finely divided, light green-colored and aromatic.
Caraway produces small, white or pink flowers. They are arranged in umbels (type of inflorescence composed of numerous flowers that grow from the same point). Insects are responsible for the pollination of flowers.
Fruit of caraway is dry achene. It is dark green or brown colored and covered with 5 miniature ridges on the surface.
Even though they are known as "caraway seed", people actually use fruit of caraway as spice. Caraway has sweet and pungent taste. Carvone and limonene are essential oils extracted from the fruit of caraway that are responsible for the anise-like and lemony flavor of this plant.
Caraway is often confused with cumin. These two spices can be distinguished by color (caraway is darker), size (cumin has larger seed) and taste (caraway is less spicy).
Caraway is often used as an ingredient of stews and other dishes made of pork and goose meat. It is also widely used in the manufactures of breads, pastry, cookies, cheese and liqueurs. Young leaves of caraway are also edible. They can be consumed raw (in the form of salads) or dried (as ingredient of various savory dishes).
Root of caraway was popular and often consumed vegetable in the ancient Rome.
During the 17th century, sugar-coated seed of caraway were consumed at the end of the meal to facilitate digestion.
Tea made of caraway can be used to prevent flatulence (production of gas in the intestines) and abdominal cramps and for the elimination of intestinal worms.
Caraway can be also used in treatment of cough, fever, loss of appetite, bronchitis and gingivitis (inflammation of the gums).
Women often use caraway to increase production of milk and facilitate lactation during the period of breastfeeding.
Essential oils derived from caraway are used in the cosmetic industry for the production of soaps, perfumes, lotions, mouthwashes and toothpastes.
Caraway is often planted in the gardens to attract pest insects (flies and wasps, for example) and to distract them from other, more valuable plants in the garden.
Caraway is biennial plant, which means that it completes its life cycle in two years.

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