Description. Caraway is a biennial plant of the genus of perennial or biennial plants of the Apiaceae family, of which the most famous species is field caraway, which is used as a spice.
The native land of the plant is Eurasia. Caraway is common both in wild and in cultivated form. It is cultivated and used for spices practically in all corners of the planet.
Spice has a sharp taste and a spicy aroma.
The leaves of the plant are bi- or tripinnate, flowers are bisexual or partially staminal. Petals are of white, pink or red color, roundly obovate. The fruits are oblong, compressed laterally, the ribs are blunt, and the seeds have the smell and the taste of anise.
Field caraway (Cárum cárvi) is a biennial plant, a species of the Carum genus from the Apiaceae family. There are several folk names for caraway: anise wild, anise field, cumin, timon, cimin, kozlovka, anise, blue-white trigonella, ganus.
Wild field caraway grows throughout Europe, in the temperate climate of Asia, as well as in the subtropical regions of India and Pakistan. It is cultivated everywhere.
The stems of the plant are single, straight, smooth, hollow, branching, 30-80 cm high, sometimes reaching 1 m. The root is spindle-shaped or cylindrical, fleshy. The leaves of the caraway are oblong, bi-tripinnatisect, ovate-lanceolate, 6-20 cm in length and 2-10 cm in width, have thin-line, sharp lobes. Inflorescences are umbellate at the ends of branches and the tip of the stem, with 8-16 unequal rays. Its flowers are rather small, pink or white; the petals are obovate, about 1.5 mm long. Its fruit is oblong oblate, with a length of about 3 mm and a width of 2.5 mm, of brown color.
The benefit of this spice is due to its chemical composition. Caraway is used in the manufacturing of various medications that help to withdraw phlegm in case of strong cough and bronchitis. The composition of caraway contains vitamins of B group, necessary for muscle tissue and for normal activity of the nervous system. There is also ascorbic acid in its composition, and it is very important for the assimilation of other substances and for immunity strengthening. It also contains choline, which improves the metabolism and normalizes the level of blood cholesterol. Caraway contains a lot of potassium, and it is a very important mineral for cardiovascular system.
Field caraway is unpretentious and is not exacting to the soil. The ideal condition for its cultivation will be fertile soil, well filled with organic fertilizer. The plant is grown in different places, even in the aisles of fruit trees. But you should know that in the shaded place the yield of caraway will be slightly less and the flavor will be weaker. Therefore, the place for sowing should be brightly lit. Before sowing the soil should be thoroughly dug.
Caraway is grown in a non-seedlings way. It is sown in spring and before winter.
In case of underwinter sowing, dry, unprocessed seeds are used. It is sown in rows with inter-row spacing up to 45 cm. Caraway shoots should be singled out in such a way that the distance between the plants is at least 20 cm.
In case of spring sowing, the seeds of caraway are soaked for 24 hours to increase the germination, and the seeds are be warmed in the sun to accelerate the germination period.
While the shoots of caraway only braird they need to weed out. Hereafter, the sowing will need only bursting, fertilizing with mineral fertilizers 2-3 times, watering, especially during the period of stalking and at the beginning of flowering.
The seeds completely ripen in July, but they crumble quickly. Therefore, the harvesting of caraway should take place at the beginning of their browning.
Caraway grows in the same place for two years, it tolerates winter cold well.
Application. Caraway fruit and essential oil obtained from them, leaves and young shoots (seasoning to soups, pates, cheeses, salads) are consumed to food. Fruits and oil give the products a spicy, sharp taste, a peculiar spicy aroma. Caraway is used as a spice for bakery products flavoring (black bread), in cooking, confectionery and alcoholic industries. Also, caraway seeds are used for pickling cucumbers, pickling and souring of cabbage, cooking kvass, as spices in soups, sauces and meat.
The honey bees take pollen load and nectar from the inflorescences of caraway seeds. The cake, which remains after pressing the oil from the fruit, is considered a valuable fodder for cattle and increases the milking capacity of cows.