|Caraway rose nagpuria|
Caraway (Carum carvi), also known as meridian fennel, or Persian cumin,""Shahi Jeera" is a biennial plant in the family Apiaceae, native to western Asia, Europe and Northern Africa.
The plant is similar in appearance to other members of the carrot family, 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.
Names and 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".
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.
The fruits, usually used whole, have a pungent, anise-like flavor and aroma that comes from essential oils, mostly carvone and limonene. They are used as a spice in breads, especially rye bread.
Caraway is also used in desserts, liquors, casseroles, curry, Indian dishes and other foods. It is extensively used in Indian Cuisine especially in rice dishes like Pulaos, Biryani. It is commonly used in tempering for many Indian curries. It is more commonly found in European cuisine. For example, it is commonly used in British caraway seed cake and is also added to sauerkraut. In Serbia, it is commonly sprinkled over home-made salty scones (pogačice s kimom). It is also used to add flavor to cheeses such as bondost, pultost, nøkkelost and havarti. Akvavit and several liqueurs are made with caraway. In Middle Eastern cuisine, caraway pudding is a popular dessert during Ramadan. Also it is typically made and served in Levant area in winter and in the occasion of having a new baby.  
Caraway also has a long tradition of medical uses, primarily for stomach complaints. Emerging and ongoing research from Arabic regional studies suggest Carum carvi use as an endocrine function support agent, specifically related to thyroid disorders and auto immune disease (see Hashimoto's thyroiditis)
The plant prefers warm, sunny locations and well-drained soil rich in organic matter. In warmer regions it is planted in the winter months as an annual. In temperate climates it is planted as a summer annual or biennial. There is however a polyploid variant (with four haploid sets=4n) of this plant that was found to be perennial.
Caraway, like many umbellifers, is a useful companion plant. It can hide the scent of neighboring crops from pest insects, as well as attracting beneficial insects like predatory wasps and predatory flies to its flowers.
Caraway thyme has a strong caraway scent and is sometimes used as a substitute for real caraway in recipes.
- Anise Seed Substitute: Caraway Seed
- "English Malayalam Spice Names". Recipes.malayali.me. Retrieved 2013-01-25.
- Global Crops Database: Meridian Fennel
- Benefits of Carawy Seeds: Meridian Fennel, a biennial herb with a fleshy root ...
- Caraway: In the culinary arts, Caraway seeds ...
- USDA Plants Classification Report: Apiaceae
- Katzer's Spice Pages: Caraway Caraway (Carum carvi L.)
- Walter William Skeat, Principles of English etymology, Volume 2, page 319. 1891 Words of Arabic Origin
- "Recipe - German Sauerkraut Caraway". Cooks.com. Retrieved 2013-01-25.
- "Sauerkraut With Caraway Recipe - Low-cholesterol.Food.com - 206206". Recipezaar.com. Retrieved 2013-01-25.
- "Fancified Sauerkraut Recipe : Emeril Lagasse : Recipes". Food Network. Retrieved 2013-01-25.
- 4+ hrs. "Slow Cooker Kielbasa Stew Recipe". Allrecipes.com. Retrieved 2013-01-25.
- "Sauerkraut with Apple and Caraway Recipe at". Epicurious.com. Retrieved 2013-01-25.
- "Caraway Pudding". http://kitchenofpalestine.com/. Retrieved 2013-01-25.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Carum carvi.|
- Caraway — Gernot Katzer's Spice Pages.
- How to grow Caraway
- History of Caraway
- How to make Caraway Pudding