Their scent makes you think of rye bread, sauerkraut and roast pork.
The Roo Sisters

10 Aug 2013 - 2:54 PM  UPDATED 27 May 2015 - 4:03 PM


Carum Carvi has one of the longest histories of any of the word’s spices. The seed has been found in fossilised food remains from about 5000 years ago, and has long been enjoyed in Europe and North Africa – not just in food but as a medicine and folk remedy for a range of afflictions, including visits from evil spirits. The scent makes you think of rye bread, sauerkraut, potato salad and roast pork – the flavours of the northern hemisphere, particularly Germany, Austria, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. It cuts through the fattiness of meats such as pork and duck, and has an affinity for complementary foods such as apple sauce and bread. Many European cheeses contain the seeds, while they are also used to flavour sweet foods such as fruit-based desserts, cakes and biscuits. They appear in North African and Indian dishes, harissa, the Tunisian spice blend tabil, and some blends of garam masala. The ancient Egyptians placed caraway seeds in tombs to ward off evil spirits, while Greeks and Romans cultivated them for food and medicine. Northern European legends describe their power as a love potion or a preventative for theft or loss: it was believed that if you tucked a few seeds into your possessions they wouldn’t be stolen.


Use caraway seeds in …

goulash; sauerkraut or coleslaw; sausages; crushed with garlic and olive oil as a rub for roast pork or duck; toasted and sprinkled on steamed vegetables or scrambled eggs; in bread, dumplings, pâté, carrot or cheese salad, cheese biscuits and cakes. Beware of adding them too early, as they can turn bitter during a long simmer. Buy whole seeds and use as needed. They will keep for at least six months in an airtight container away from heat and light.


Caraway seeds go with …

pork, duck, goose, potato, sweet potato, parsnip, carrot, beetroot, onion, garlic, zucchini, squash, pumpkin, cabbage, bread, rye, apples, cheese, chilli, butter, milk.