Caraway seed is said to be Europe’s first spice, with a history that begins in ancient Rome and eventually reaching Scandinavia during the Middle Ages. It is a staple flavoring agent and condiment in Northern, Central and Eastern European cuisines. In North Africa, caraway seed is a key ingredient in a pungent chili paste called harissa that is used to flavor stews, soups and couscous.
Although caraway grows freely in the Alpine meadows of Germany, the plant was carefully cultivated in medieval monasteries and the dried fruits were harvested for food as well as for their carminative and anti-flatulent properties. In fact, according to tradition, a cup of caraway tea is not only capable of dispelling gas, but can also ensure that true love never strays. The latter belief is preserved in the practice of feeding caraway seed to homing pigeons so that they can always find their way back to the roost. Caraway is native to the area surrounding the Mediterranean and Europe. Seed is used primarily. Leaf and root are also edible. One of the oldest cultivated spices use dates back to 3000-4000 BC.
In ancient times, Egyptians applied the seed in protecting their dead from evil spirits, and Greeks and Romans used it as food.
Caesar's army ate chara, a bread made of the root.Its use and cultivation
spread from Arabia to Northern Europe during the middle ages. Herbal lore
ascribed it the power to prevent loss and theft. It was used in love potions. It is
still used in seed mixtures to attract birds and to keep chickens and other
domesticated birds from seeking other feeding spots. Properly stored, the
seeds will remain flavorful for months. It is best to add seeds after the recipe
is cooked. Their sweet aroma and flavor are reminiscent of anise seed and
fennel. It is featured in foods of Germany, Austria, eastern Europe, and
Scandinavia. Caraway seeds can be freshen breath and its essential oil is
found in many mouthwashes, toothpastes and chewing gums. It is used in
several liquor recipes and to improve the flavor of various complementary herbal combinations.
Properties: Carminative, antispasmodic, stomachic, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, appetitive, emmenagogic, expectorant and
galactagogic (stimulating secretion of bile)
The fruits, usually used whole, have a pungent, anise-like flavor and
aroma that comes from essential oils, mostly carvone andlimonene.
Anethole, generally regarded as a minor product in the essential oil of this
species, has also been found to be a major component. They are used as
a spice in breads, especially rye bread.
Caraway is also used in desserts, liquors, casseroles, Indian cuisine rice dishes such as pulao and biryani, and other foods. Caraway is also used as a breath freshener and other medicinal purposes. It is more commonly found in European cuisine. For example, it is commonly used in British caraway seed cake and is also added to sauerkraut. In Serbia, it is commonly sprinkled over home-made salty scones (pogačice s kimom). It is also used to add flavor to cheeses such as bondost, pultost and havarti. Akvavit and several liqueurs are made with caraway. In Middle Eastern cuisine, caraway pudding is a popular dessert during Ramadan. Caraway is also added to flavor Harissa, a Maghrebian chili pepper paste. Also it is typically made and served in Levant area in winter and in the occasion of having a new baby, Also in Aleppian, Syrian cuisine it is used to make sweet scones named Keleacha, and used in combination with habbet al-baraka, or nigella seeds, although these names are often cited as misleading. the Nigella and Caraway seeds are extolled as being "A cure for every disease except death." Indeed, traditional Syrian medicinal uses of black seed are extensive, including the treatment of skin conditions, respiratory infections, intestinal disorders and parasites, headaches, toothaches and more. Nigella and Caraway help promote lactation in nursing mothers and uterine contractions during labor.
The roots may be cooked as a root vegetable like parsnips or carrots.
Additionally, leaves are sometimes consumed, either raw, dried, or cooked as herbs, similar to parsley
Caraway fruit oil is also used as a fragrance component in soaps, lotions, and perfumes. Caraway also has a long tradition of medical uses, primarily for stomach complaints. Emerging and ongoing research from Arabic regional studies suggest Carum carvi use as an endocrine function support agent, specifically related to thyroid disorders and autoimmune disease (see Hashimoto's thyroiditis)
Whole or powdered, Essential Oil
Volatile oil, bitters, tannin, resin, wax, mucilage, sugar, and cellulose. Carvol and carvene.