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. Anethole, generally regarded as a minor product in the essential oil of this species, has also been found to be a major component. Caraway is used as a spice in breads, especially rye bread.
Caraway is also used in desserts, liquors, casseroles, Indian cuisine rice dishes such as pulao and biryani, and other foods. It is also found in European cuisine. For example, it is commonly used in British caraway seed cake, and it is frequently added to sauerkraut. The roots may be cooked as a vegetable like parsnips or carrots. Additionally, the leaves are sometimes consumed as herbs, either raw, dried, or cooked, similar to parsley.
In Serbia, caraway is commonly sprinkled over home-made salty scones (pogačice s kimom). It is also used to add flavor to cheeses such as bondost, pultost and havarti. Akvavit and several liqueurs are made with caraway.
In Middle Eastern cuisine, caraway pudding is a popular dessert during Ramadan. Caraway is also added to flavor Harissa, a Maghrebian chili pepper paste. It is typically made and served in the Levant area in winter and on the occasion of having a new baby, In Aleppian, Syrian cuisine it is used to make the sweet scones named Keleacha, and also in combination with habbet al-baraka, or nigella seeds, although these names are often considered to be misleading. Nigella and caraway seeds are extolled as being "a cure for every disease except death." Indeed, traditional Syrian medicinal uses of black seed are extensive, including the treatment of skin conditions, respiratory infections, intestinal disorders and parasites, headaches, toothaches and more. Nigella and caraway help promote lactation in nursing mothers and uterine contractions during labor. 
Caraway fruit oil is also used as a fragrance component in soaps, lotions, and perfumes. Caraway is also used as a breath freshener, and it has a long tradition of medical use, primarily for stomach complaints. Emerging and ongoing research from Arabic regional studies suggest Carum carvi as an endocrine function support agent for cases related to thyroid disorders and autoimmune disease such as 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.
Finland supplies approximately 28% (2011) of the world's caraway production. Caraway cultivation is well suited to the Finnish climate and latitudes, which ensure long hours of sunlight in the summer. This results in fruits that contain higher levels of essential oils than those produced in other main growing areas which include Canada, the Netherlands, Egypt and central Europe.
Caraway, like many umbellifers, is a useful companion plant. It can disguise the scent of neighboring crops to detract pest insects, as well as attract 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.
- Word Crops Database: 
- Benefits of Carawy Seeds: Meridian Fennel, a biennial herb with a fleshy root ...
- Caraway: In the culinary arts, Caraway seeds ...
- Plant Name: Meridian Fennel Meridian Fennel
- 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
- https://www.aromaticscience.com/chemical-composition-and-antiulcerogenic-activity-of-the-volatile-oil-from-carum-carvi/. Missing or empty
- "Toxic compounds in essential oils of coriander, caraway and basil active against stored rice pests".
- "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