What are Caraway seeds?
Caraway seeds are a fragrant spice with a fresh flavour and aromatic notes, although they are technically a fruit their appearance made the name seed stick. Caraway is an excellent flavouring for bread, especially rye. Across Europe this spice is used in a wide variety of ways from being used in pickling to flavouring liqueurs.
What does Caraway taste like?
Caraway has a fresh flavour with notes of menthol and aniseed. Floral bitter notes, not unlike turmeric, penetrate through as the flavour builds.
What are Caraway seeds used for?
Caraway seeds are most commonly used to flavour hearty loaves of bread made from heavy grains. The light flavour notes help to elevate the otherwise too heavy bread. Caraway rye bread is commonly eaten across scandinavia. Another common use is as a pickling spice, along with Dill it is used to impart flavour when preserving vegetables, a necessity in northern Europe throughout history. Caraway seeds are a traditional ingredient in sauerkraut. Caraway seed cake, a traditional British tea cake, originated as a celebration for the end of sowing the spring wheat. Caraway is an essential ingredient in several spice blends including Harissa and can be found in some variations of Garam Masala. The penetrating aniseed notes of caraway make have given it frequent use in flavouring cheeses, cutting through the fatty creaminess.
Here's a few recipes using Caraway to get your creative juices flowing
Names and Origins
Caraway seeds are the fruit of the Caraway plant, Carum carvi, a short biennial plant closely related to carrots and parsley. It can grow up to 60cm in height with small pink or white flowers. Caraway is one of the longest cultivated spices we know of, evidence of its use has been traced back to 3000BCE, before even the Great Pyramid was built, the Egyptians used Caraway as a part of their complex burial practices. There are several theories as to the origin of the name caraway, by the 1300’s it was known as karawiya in Arabic which s thought to have been borrowed by European languages. The Roman scholar Pliny the Elder’s writings suggest that the name came from a now defunct province of Caria in what is now Turkey.
Caraway is native to Europe, where it grows readily in the temperate climate. Due to its popularity in other cuisines it has been introduced to Asia and North Africa, where it now grows wild.
We currently use caraway in our Tunisian inspired Harissa blend. Click below to check it out!