Caraway, also known as meridian fennel and Persian cumin, is a biennial plant in the family Apiaceae, native to western Asia, Europe, and North 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.
Caraway is a unique spice long used in cooking and herbal medicine. Although frequently mistaken for a seed, this small, brown pod is really the dried fruit of the caraway plant. Its slightly bitter, earthy flavor is reminiscent of licorice, coriander, anise, and fennel. It can be used whole or ground in both sweet and savory dishes, such as breads, pastries, curries, and stews. It’s sometimes infused into spirits and liqueurs as well.
When used medicinally, caraway can be made into a tea or taken as a supplement. You can also apply its essential oils to your skin.
In fact, emerging research suggests that the aromatic compounds responsible for its distinct taste may also provide health benefits, such as improved digestion.