Caraway Seeds


Caraway Seed is a common flavoring for many kinds of rye bread. It is also used to flavor sauerkraut, sausage, cheese, cabbage, and soups. It is actually the fruit of a biennial herb in the parsley family, known as Carum carvi. The seed is about 1/5-inch long and tapered at the ends. The hard seed shells have five pale ridges.


Other names: Meridian Fennel
Translations: Ķimeņu sēklas, Kmynai, Seminte de chimen, Sjemenke kima, Hạt giống cây caraway, Kminek, Karwijzaad, जीरा बीज, Alcaravia Sementes, Тмин, Κύμινο σπόροι, بذور كمون, 캐러웨이 씨앗, Kmín, Kumin binhi, 香菜种子, Les llavors de comí de prat, Semena kumine, Rasca, Semi di cumino, זרעי קימל, Kummin, Ким Семе, キャラウェイシード, Graines de carvi, Kümmel, Kommen Frø, Karve, Las semillas de alcaravea, Кмин, Kuminan siemenet, Ким

Physical Description

The plant is similar in appearance to a carrot plant, with finely divided, feathery leaves with thread-like divisions, growing on 20–30 cm stems. The main flower stem is 40–60 cm tall, with small white or pink flowers in umbels. Caraway fruits (erroneously called seeds) are crescent-shaped achenes, around 2 mm long, with five pale ridges. The plant prefers warm, sunny locations and well-drained soil.

Colors: dark brown, beige

Tasting Notes

Flavors: sweet, earthy
Mouthfeel: Seedy
Food complements: Casseroles, breads, cheese
Beverage complements: beer
Substitutes: Dill seeds, Anise seeds

Selecting and Buying

Seasonality: january, february, march, april, may, june
Choosing: Clean and Bright, without a dusty appearance.
Buying: Buy preferably from a gourmet food store or spice merchant who sells in small amounts or internet spice supplier such as Penzey's.

Preparation and Use

Clean and Bright, without a dusty appearance.

Conserving and Storing

Store in tightly closed, dark or opaque containers in a cool dry place. Suggest that if they are not used within 6-9 months, they be replaced for best flavor.


Caraway is also used in liquors, casseroles, curry and other foods. It is more commonly found in European cuisine.

History: The etymology of Caraway is complex and poorly understood. Caraway has been called by many names in different regions, with names deriving from the Latin cuminum (cumin), the Greek karon (again, cumin), which was adapted into latin as carum (now meaning caraway), and the Sanskrit karavi, sometimes translated as "caraway" but other times understood to mean "fennel." The Italian finocchio meridionale (meridian fennel) suggests these shared roots, though cumino tedesco (German cumin) again points towards cumin -- though caraway also has its own name in Italian, caro . Other languages share similar peculiarities, with Yiddish borrowing the german Kümmel (cumin) as kimmel to mean Caraway, yet using the semitic term kamoon for cumin. English usage of the term Caraway dates back to at least 1440, and is considered by Skeat to be of Arabic origin, though Katzer believes the Arabic al-karawya (cf. Spanish alcaravea) to be derived from the Latin carum.



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