Caraway seeds

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Carawy seeds

The fruits, usually used whole, have a pungent, anise flavour and aroma that comes from essential oils, mostly carvone and limonene. They are used as a spice in breads, especially rye bread which is denser because of the yeast killing properties of the essential oil, limonene.

Caraway is also used in liquors, casseroles, and other foods, especially in Central European and Scandinavian cuisine (sauerkraut for instance). It is also used to add flavour to cheeses such as havarti. Akvavit and several liqueurs are also made with caraway, and a tisane made from the seeds is used as a remedy for colic, loss of appetite and digestive disorders and to dispel worms.

Caraway seed oil is also used as a fragrance component in soaps, lotions, and perfumes. The roots may be cooked as a root vegetable similar to parsnips or carrots.

In literature

In one of the short stories in Dubliners by James Joyce, a character eats caraway seeds to mask the alcohol on his breath.

Alternatives

Caraway thyme has a strong caraway scent and is sometimes used as a substitute for real caraway in recipes.

Chef's tip

Grind with a coffee grinder as and when you need them.

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