This Medieval spice was once a spice rack staple. Thanks to the renewed interest in Scandanavian and Eastern European cuisine, (think rye bread, gravlax and pickling), caraway seeds are cropping-up in more recipes.
It’s great news for those who love earthy, spiced-anise flavours. Caraway seeds are a cross between fennel and cumin, making them a versatile ingredient which can be kneaded into breads, rubbed into pork belly or used to transform simple braised cabbage into something spectacular.
They have been used in European and Norse cuisine for centuries – marked by the presence of caraway seeds in German Kümmel or Scandinavian aquavit. Caraway seeds also crop-up in traditional recipes throughout Europe, from Pumpernickel or Borodinsky breads to Mrs Beeton’s English Seed Cake – adding an easy complexity to dishes.
Caraway is native to Central and Eastern Europe, but it’s a hardy plant which grows worldwide. We get our caraway from Finland – one of the biggest global producers. This isn't just because of the local demand, but also long summertime hours, which ripen caraway plants and intensify the essential oils, resulting in particularly potent seeds.
Caraway seeds should be stored in a dark, airtight container, to prevent them from drying out, and to keep them as flavourful as possible.
As with cumin seeds, caraway seeds are used in traditional medicine to treat mild digestive disorders including diarrhoea. In human trial studies, herbal preparations consisting predominantly of caraway have been found to help symptoms of indigestion. Modern scientific research also indicates that caraway has significant antioxidant properties. To read more, click HERE.
ALSO KNOWN AS: Mediterranean fennel, carum carvi, carvi seeds