Caraway Seeds

By Katrin Koelle
Updated on 08. May. 2020

Everything you need to know about the fragrant and nutritious caraway seed.

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Caraway seeds...

  • ...soothe the stomach. Thanks to the essential oil carvone, caraway seeds can help relieve pain and cramps in the stomach and intestines as well as nausea.
  • ...help with flatulance. Caraway is an effective natural remedy, as it can slow down the formation of gas.
  • ...can help relieve coughs. In naturopathy, caraway has always had a good reputation for relieving dry coughs.
  • ...improve digestion. Carvone and other essential oils in caraway stimulate the secretion of stomach acid and other digestive juices, which helps your body digest certain foods.
  • ...are good for breast-feeding mothers. Another effect that has been attributed to caraway for centuries is its ability to stimulate milk production in breast-feeding mothers.
  • ...have an antibacterial effect. The essential oils in caraway have an antibacterial effect, so they can help fight germs that cause illness.
  • ...help keep your breath fresh. Chewing a caraway seeds can quickly banish unpleasant bad breath.

What You Should Know About Caraway Seeds

Caraway seeds' unique, strong flavor is delicious to some, while others find it unpalatable. If you've never tried them, its worth sampling caraway seeds to see how you react. 

Caraway grows wild all over Europe, Asia and North Africa, and its white and pink flowers, which bloom between May and July, beautify countless meadows. However caraway has has long been cultivated in large crops, with the most prestigious caraway grown in Holland, and marketed with the "Amsterdam quality" seal. Important cultivation areas for caraway seeds are also located in Poland and in Germany, especially in East Frisia.

Origin

Archaeologists found traces of caraway seeds when examining the remains of settlements from the third millennium BC in Switzerland. Caraway seeds were also mentioned in the writings from Mesopotamia, which are about 1000 years older.

Flavor

Caraway owes its characteristic, intense aroma to the abundant essential oils it contains. In terms of taste, it is reminiscent of aniseed and fennel, with which it is botanically related.

Our Favorite Caraway Seed Recipes

Here you can find all caraway recipes.

How Healthy Are Caraway Seeds?

Caraway seeds' medicinal history dates back to the Middle Ages, when they were considered to an effective means of driving out demons and banishing witchcraft. While this hasn't exactly been proven, in the years since many other healing effects of caraway seeds' have been proven by research. The essential oils in caraway have several beneficial effects, especially for the stomach and intestines: they slightly stimulate the appetite, ensure the release of more stomach acid, relax the muscles in the digestive tract and also have an antibacterial effect, i.e. they fight germs that cause illness. Tea made from caraway - pure or mixed with aniseed and fennel - is considered to be extremely helpful for stomach and intestinal issues of all kinds. Traditionallym caraway tea is also often used to stimulate milk production in nursing mothers. In naturopathy, caraway is also important as a proven household remedy for coughs.

You can buy tea made from caraway seeds in the pharmacy, but you can also make it yourself: simply crush half a teaspoon of caraway seeds in a mortar, pour 250 millilitres of boiling water over it and let it steep for ten minutes, then simply pour through a tea strainer.

In some cases, caraway seeds can cause problems for people with asthma, but allergic reactions are generally very rare.

Nutritional values of caraway (dried) per 100 grams  
Calories 386
Protein 19.8 g
Fat 14.6 g
Carbohydrates 37.3 g
Fiber 12.7 g

Shopping and Cooking Tips

Shopping

You can buy whole caraway seeds ground or whole at most supermarkets.

Storage

The essential oils that give caraway its intense scent and typical aroma quickly evaporate. Therefore, always keep caraway seeds well protected from light and air. If you buy ground caraway in bulk or packed in bags, you should transfer the powder into a tightly sealed metal tin or screw-top jar after opening, and make sure to store it in a dark place.

What To Make With Caraway Seeds

Whole caraway seeds give dishes a particularly intense aroma. Anyone who wants to make use of this effect, but does not want the relatively hard seeds in their food, should use this trick: [ut the caraway seeds in a small herb bag and cook in your food, then simply remove the bag before serving.

Caraway is often used in Eastern European cooking. In Germany, caraway seeds are a traditional accompaniement of cabbage and potatoes, while in Austria and Hungary, caraway seeds are often found in classic stews such as goulash. 

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