The herb of the week this week is: Caraway (Carum carvi)
Not often considered when planning an herb garden, this is a great cooking staple one should often consider and since you can grow it up to Zone 3 in the north, there is no excuse not to. As you will see below it is also the perfect herb to mention just before Valentine’s Day!
The caraway plant is native to S.E. Europe and is nowadays cultivated in central and northern Europe and in some areas of North Africa. Holland is the main producer of the caraway plant; however Germany is the biggest consumer of caraway seeds.
The caraway plant (Carum carvi) is a member of the parsley family. It is best known for its tiny highly flavored seeds, which are most commonly recognized as the flavor in rye bread.
Extremely popular in central and northern European cuisines in particular, it has been said that caraway seeds are the oldest and longest used spice in Europe, with records dating back to Thebes, the ancient capital of Egypt, in 1552 BC. Egyptians buried their dead with caraway, as this was thought to protect them against evil spirits and young Greek women used to rub the essential oil obtained from the seeds into their skin to promote a glowing and healthy-looking skin.
Tip: Irish Soda Bread is best when eaten the day it is made.