The Spice Series: Caraway Seeds
This is a continuation of my Spice Series. Welcome to my information about Caraway seeds!
**Caraway seeds are a complex spice with a long history. Their taste is subtle, it is a slightly mild anise-flavor with mild earthy and nutty tastes to it as well.
**Caraways seeds have been used both for medicinal and cooking purposes for a long time. Ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians used the seeds in their breads and fruit dishes in order to stimulate digestion and to fight colds and illnesses.
**In the Victorian era, caraway became quite popular for a whole bunch of reasons. They used caraway seeds to freshen their breath and help aid digestion. They also supposedly believed that putting caraway seeds in men’s pockets would keep the men faithful to their wives and that anything that caraway touched could not be stolen. Finally, the Victorian’s believed that caraway was an essential ingredient in love potions.
**Today, many Americans think that caraway seeds are used only for rye breads, but this is not the case. There is much to be said about the medicinal benefits and culinary uses of caraway seeds. A bonus is that it is incredibly easy to grow at home as well.
**I hope you like this material, and, as always, if you have any questions/comments/additional sources for me, please post in the comment section below! Enjoy!
**Scientists have recently began studying caraway seeds more closely in order to see if there is any truth to folk and traditional medicinal uses, and they have discovered that caraway is one of the most powerful digestive aids in the world.
**Caraway contains a chemical compound called ‘carvone’, which relaxes spasms in the digestive system. If added to peppermint, the two together are highly effective at reducing stomach and digestive problems, especially ones that occur after eating large meals.
**Not only does caraway help with digestion, caraway contains more than 50 chemical compounds that help with a vast array of health issues. Caraway also has large quantities of nutrients, minerals, and vitamins within its’ small seed-form.
**Caraway contains minerals such as iron, copper, calcium, potassium, manganese, zinc, and magnesium.It also contains Vitamin A, E, C, and B.
**Caraway is a very rich source of dietary fiber as well as having healing properties including antioxidant, carminative, and anti-flatulent, antihistamine, and antimicrobial.
**Caraway may help prevent and/or treat:
**Caraway seeds contain a chemical compound called ‘limonene’, which does anti-cancer activities and stops the growth of breast, liver, lung, and stomach cancer.
- Cholesterol problems:
**Researchers have found that caraway reduces levels of blood fats.
**Because caraway is a mild antihistamine and also contains antimicrobial properties, it helps relax the muscles that cause coughing problems.
**It can be used as a successful laxative in order to encourage daily bowel movements.
- Diabetes, type 2:
**Its’ oils are good for not only preventing diabetes but also for controlling and stabilizing blood sugar levels.
- Food poisoning:
**One of caraway’s chemical compounds prevents E. coli from multiplying in your food dishes.
**The most important medicinal benefit is the way that caraway helps aid with digestive problems.
**Caraway oil has been used for toothaches with much success.
**Caraway has been found to help aid in the absorption of anti-tuberculosis drugs.
**Do YOU use caraway seeds for medicinal purposes? If so, how? Please feel free to comment below on how you use them!
**Americans have not yet developed a love for caraway, but in many other nations, caraway is quite popular.
**Caraway is a beloved spice in Europe. Caraway “snobs” say that the best caraway comes from Holland. You will find fields and fields of caraway in Holland as well as other places in Europe. The Dutch and French put caraway in their cheeses. The Germans put it in their sausages, meat stews, potato dishes, and cakes. It is a very popular ingredient in sauerkraut as well. Caraway is the defining flavor of aquavit, a famous liquor in Scandinavia. It is also in Hungarian goulash and Russian borsht. The Russians also put caraway into some of their vodkas.
**Caraway’s earthy, fennel/anise/nutty taste is very unique. The seeds start out, however, with only a slight aroma. The full flavor does not come out unless the seed is cooked or dry roasted. Don’t dry roast too long (only until you smell the full flavor) or the taste will become bitter.
**The entire Caraway plant can be used for culinary purposes: the root can be eaten like a turnip, the leaves can be added to salad, and the seeds, of course, are the most popular part to use.
**Caraway pairs well with these spices: Allspice, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Coriander, and Fennel seeds.
**Caraway compliments recipes containing: Apples, Cabbage, Cheese, Pears, Pork, Sausages, and Sauerkraut.
**Since Caraway’s cooked/roasted flavor is strong, you will only need a small amount of it in your recipe. Here are some ideas for getting more caraway in your diet:
- Caraway goes well with pork. You can simply sprinkle some on the pork in the last 15 minutes of cooking.
- Caraway goes well with apples, so add some caraway to the spices you usually use with cooked apples.
- Caraway goes well with cheese. If you make your own cheese, add caraway to it. Otherwise, serve a tray of apples, cheeses, and caraway seeds OR make homemade caraway crackers to go with the cheese and apples.
- Add caraway to your next potato casserole or cooked potato recipe.
- And of course, add caraway to your next homemade rye bread!
**As is usually the case, you should buy caraway seeds whole instead of already ground. Grinding releases the volatile oils in the spice and ground caraway is lacking in flavor. If you store whole caraway seeds in a cool place and out of sunlight, the seeds will keep for at least 2 years.
Here are some recipes to inspire you:
**Sauerkraut recipe from The Spruce Eats
**Gravlax (salt cured salmon) from Real Food Kosher
**Roasted Spicy Caraway Shrimp and Smoked Kielbasa from The Thoughtful Cave Dad
**Betty’s Buttermilk Rye Bread from Common Sense Homesteading
How to Grow Caraway
**Unlike many other spices, caraway grows better in a temperate climate instead of the tropical zones. It grows quite well in Europe and North America and would be an easy going and wonderful plant in your garden.
**Caraway is a member of the carrot family, is a biennial, and has very small white flower clusters. All parts of the plant are edible: the roots can be cooked like turnips, the leaves can be used in salads, and the seeds for medicinal or culinary purposes.
**This plant is a biennial. In the first year, it will grow to be about 8 inches tall. In the second year, the plant will triple in size and become about 30 inches tall. Make sure you plant it somewhere where it can grow in size and not be moved for two growing seasons.
**Plant it somewhere with full sun and in a well-drained soil with a ph level between 6.5-7.0.
**Since caraway develops a long taproot, it is not recommended to plant them in containers unless the containers are tall to allow root development (at least 8 inches tall).
**Sow seeds in the fall or spring. Germination is slow and sporadic.
**Sow directly into the soil, as transplanting is difficult on the plants.
**You can also propagate from cuttings.
**Caraway also will self-seed if you do not harvest all of the seeds.
**Very little maintenance is needed for caraway. Make sure the plant does not dry out, especially in the first year.
**Feed your caraway plants with some good fertilizer or compost 1 or 2 times during each growing season to boost the health of your plants.
**Cut the plant back in the fall of its’ first season and it will come back in the spring.
**If you want a continual harvest, make sure that after the first year, you plant a second crop, etc.
**1 or 2 plants usually gives a good amount of seeds per household.
**You can harvest the leaves in either the first year or the second year of growing to add to your salads. Just make sure that you only take a small amount of leaves per plant so that you do not stress it.
**After you get seeds from your plant in the second year, you can dig up the root and use like any other root vegetable.
**In the second season, before a frost, when the flower heads have died, you can harvest the seeds. They will be a dark brown color. Cut the flower stems and put them in a paper bag and hang them upside down until they have dried completely. Shake the bag to remove the caraway seeds, you might need to inspect the flower heads for any remaining seeds.
**Store the dried caraway seeds in a sealed container in a cool, dark location.
**Looking to buy caraway? Click here for an idea for caraway essential oil. Click here for an idea for caraway seeds.
There you go! This is most of the information that I could find about caraway seeds. Please click here for my introduction to my Spice Series. Again, if you have any comments, questions, or extra information for me, please feel free to post in the comment section below!
[…] Peas […]
[…] of the best ways to get fresh peas, of course, is to grow your own. Click here to see my post on How to Grow Peas. Peas are a delight in the garden; they are one of the first vegetables you can start eating and […]
[…] 7. Peas: Yep, you read that right. You can grow Peas in the Fall season, but only if you live in a warm climate. You will need at least 2 months of between summer heat and your first frost in order to grow Peas in the fall. Learn more about growing Peas here. […]
[…] needed some garden trellises for my plants! I’m growing pole beans, pickles/cucumbers, and peas in my garden, and they are all much happier on trellises. So I figured out how to make some DIY […]