What is Caraway?

What is caraway? Caraway is a biennial plant indigenous to Asia, North Africa and Europe which resembles a wild carrot plant in that its leaves are feathery and delicately divided. Small pink, green or white flowers embellish the 20-inch tall stem while its fruits, mistakenly referred to as seeds, are crescent shaped and grow to about 1/2 inch long.

What is Caraway?What is Caraway?

Caraway plants flourish in sunny spots that contain organically-rich soil that can be well-drained and watered frequently. These plants take two years to attain maturity, after which it produces its fruit and then dies. Caraway "seeds" are pale brown in color and tend to look like cumin seeds. In Europe, India and Turkey, caraway is commercially grown, with caraway cultivated in Netherlands considered the highest quality available.

What is Caraway Fruit?

Fruits exude a pungent aroma and tastes sweetly tangy. The strong smell emanates from carvone and limonene oils which are used as spice in varieties of breads. Europeans commonly cook with caraway, enhancing dishes such as sauerkraut, casseroles and curry with its unique flavoring. Fruit/seeds are capable of retaining their flavor for a long time as long as they are kept in airtight containers away from too much light. In America, caraway is frequently used in cake and cookie recipes, as well as pasta dishes and cheese spreads. 

In addition to flavoring food, caraway seed oil can be found in soaps, perfumes and body lotions as a fragrance enhancer.

What is Caraway Medicine?

This plant has a long history of being used in medicinal potions and is still utilized in that same vein today. Usually it is given as a tea made from the leaves or the fruit, depending on the type of illness which needs to be addressed. Seeds are generally used as a solution for digestive problems, such as colic or nausea. As a carminative and light sedative (something relieving flatulence), caraway can also be taken after eating something which causes gas.

Caraway fruits that are ground into a fine powder and mixed with warm water are supposed to fade bruises faster. For children suffering stomachaches, one to two drops of caraway seed oil on a cube of sugar is also considered an effective remedy.

Caraway Recipes

Finding information regarding what is caraway will inevitably lead you to some delicious recipes that have been used for many years in Europe. One of these is Caraway Cheese Spread. For this dish, you will need:

BLUE CHEESE SPREAD RECIPE with caraway seeds

  • 3 Ounces of cream cheese
  • 1/3 Cup of crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/3 Cup of mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons of caraway seed
  • White pepper to taste

Just blend all ingredients together into a ball and refrigerate until you are ready to use it.


Another favorite recipe is Caraway Seed Cake.

  • 1/2 Teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 Cup of flour
  • 1/4 Pound of soft butter, extra for greasing pan
  • 6 Tablespoons of caster sugar
  • 3 Large eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons of milk
  • 1 Teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 3 Teaspoons of caraway seeds

First, grease a loaf pan and line it with wax paper, then preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Sift baking powder and flour, then cream sugar and butter. Beat in one egg at a time before adding one teaspoon of flour for each egg to prevent curdling of the mixture. Gently mix in the remainder of the flour, milk and vanilla extract. Save the caraway seeds for last when blending all of the ingredients. Bake for 50 minutes to one hour.


What is caraway? Try these flavorful biscuits.

  • 3 Medium finely grated onions
  • 2 Eggs
  • ½ Cup vegetable oil
  • 2 ½ Cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 Teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 Tablespoons caraway seeds

Preheat oven to 425F degrees; butter a baking sheet.

Beat onions, oil and eggs together.

Combine flour, baking powder and caraways seeds.

Combine the flour mixture with the onion mixture.

Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of batter onto buttered tray.

Bake 10 to 15 minutes.  


  • 1 Cup caraway seeds
  • 6 Tablespoons softened butter
  • ¾ Cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • ½ Cup flour
  • ¼ Teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla

With burner on low heat toast seeds in a heavy skillet for 15 minutes stirring frequently.

Place seeds in a paper bag and crush with a rolling pin.

PREHEAT OVEN TO 350F degrees.

Cream butter and sugar; add egg and beat until light.

Combine flour and baking powder; stir into the creamed mixture.

Stir in vanilla and crushed seeds; drop by ½ teaspoonfuls on COLD greased cookie sheet 2 inches apart.   

Bake for 8 minutes; cool cookie 1 minute before removing from tray.

Cool completely; store in tightly covered container.  

What is caraway used for besides cooking and health issues? Caraway seeds can also be chewed to freshen breath and to ease that annoying tickle in your throat when you are suffering from a sore throat.