names : Carvies; Wild cumin; Roman cumin; Persian cumin
seed or fruit of caraway(Carum carvi) is obtained from a biennial
or occasionally from an annual umbelliferous plant of the parsley
family, native to Europe and Western Asia and cultivated in many parts
of the world. It is cultivated in a limited scale in Kashmir, Kumaon,
Garhwar and Chamba area in India. Caraway is one of the world's oldest
culinary spices. Seeds of it were found in the remains of food from
the Mesolithic age. It was used to flavour bread eaten by Roman soldiers.
The ancient Egyptians always placed a container of caraway in tombs
to ward off evil spirits.
a perennial or biennial herb, grows to about 0.6 m and has feathery,
compound leaves. The roots are tuberose and thick and the flowers
are small and white borne on umbels. It blooms every two years to
produce large creamy flowers. The seeds are mericarps as each seed
is a half of the fruit. Each single seed or carpel is about 0.5 cm
long, tan to brown, and curved with five lighter coloured ridges along
the length of the seed.
seeds of the biennial varieties can be sown either late in summer
or early in spring, but those of the annual type only in spring. Sowings
should be made in rows 60 cm apart at such rate as to produce six
to eight plants / 30cm. The seeds should be planted in light well-drained
soil. Germination is slow as well as the growth of plants in the early
part of the season; therefore, considerable care is necessary to keep
down weeds. The biennials flower early in the second season after
planting and mature their seeds by midsummer. When the fruiting umbels
have turned brown they should be cut from the plant before shattering
begins. The umbels should be dried thoroughly in the sun or shade,
and the seeds separated and then cleaned and stored in a paper bag
or closed container.
seeds contain about1.5 - 3.5% volatile oil. The main component (50-60%)
of the essential oil is carvone. It also contains limonene, dihydrocarvone.,
dihydrocarveol, carveol, acetaldeyde, methyl alcohol, furfural and
is used extensively in East European, German and Austrian cooking.
The whole form is used in rye and other speciality breads, cakes and
biscuits. They may be used in potato salads, cream or cottage cheese,
cookies, or bread. The leaves can be snipped into salads or used as
a garnish. The carrot-shaped root has the same flavour as the seeds
and it can be cooked in the same way as parsnips, either by baking
and other use
of caraway was recommended by Dioscorides, the famous botanist, to
be rubbed into to the skin to improve the complexion. It is used as
a flavouring in children's medicines, as an antidote to flatulence
and an acid to digestion. Its flavour and aroma are used in mouthwash
and gargle preparations as well as in the perfume industry.