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October 2012
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Caraway (Carum carvi) is a biennial plant in the family Apiaceae.

Images of Caraway at

Caraway (Carum carvi) is also known as meridian fennel or Persian cumin, is a biennial plant in the family Apiaceae.

Overview of Caraway

• It is native to western Asia, Europe and Northern Africa.
• The plant is similar in appearance to other members of the carrot family.
• It has finely divided, feathery leaves with thread-like divisions, growing on 20–30 cm stems.
• The main flower stem is 40–60 cm tall.
• They bear small white or pink flowers in umbels.
• Caraway fruits (erroneously called seeds) are crescent-shaped achenes, around 2 mm long, with five pale ridges.
• The plant prefers warm, sunny locations and well-drained soil rich in organic matter.
• 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 and other foods.
• It is more commonly found in European cuisine.
• The roots may be cooked as a root vegetable like parsnips or carrots.
• Caraway fruit oil is also used as a fragrance component in soaps, lotions, and perfumes.

Growing/Caring conditions for Caraway

• Grow from seed.
• It is best to plant the seed straight in the ground where you intend the caraway to grow.
• Choose seed from the nursery, or a previous crop of caraway.
• Sow the seed in early spring.
• If you live in a area where the winter is not too cold, the seed can also be sown in winter.
• It doesn’t tolerate winter wetness.
• Place mulch around the seedlings.
• Compost, rotted manure, or hay is good choice.
• Water deeply.
• Watering is most important during dry periods.
• Fertilize late spring and summer.
• Use a complete fertilizer in the soil on planting.
• Then use liquid or soluble fertilizer once or twice during the growing months.
• Pick the caraway seed heads when they have ripened completely.
• Do not wait for the seeds to begin to fall though.
• Spread them on a tray or open container to dry completely with the sunshine.
• If you want to eat the leaves, pick them in early spring when they’re young and palatable.
• Roots can also be eaten when young.
• Store the caraway seeds.
• These should be stored in airtight containers until needed.
• Replenish each year.
• If seed is not collected, caraway will self-seed every year.
• Caraway plants die down in winter.
• At this point they should be cut back completely to enable them to grow back robustly next spring.

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