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Caraway (Carum carvi) is a member of the parsley family.

Caraway seeds were believed to prevent the theft of any object which contained them and to prevent fowl and pigeons from straying.  They are said to calm upset stomachs, cure flatulence, colic and bronchitis.

In Shakespeare's Henry IV, Squire Shallow invites Falstaff to partake of "last year's pippin of mine own graffing, with a dish of caraways."

Caraway seeds are not actually seeds, but the small ripe fruit of the caraway plant. The 'seeds' are used in cakes, cookies, breads, cheese, sauerkraut, pickles, condiments, meats, and kummel, a caraway flavored liqueur and aquavit.

Caraway seeds yield an essential oil that is used to flavor candy, mouthwash, toothpaste, soap and perfumes.

Caraway seeds are believed to have been used in Europe longer than any other condiment. Their use was first recorded in Egypt, in the medical papyrus of Thebes in 1552 B.C.

Caraway seeds have been found in lake dwellings in Switzerland dating back up to 8,000 years ago. The ancient Romans used the root as a vegetable.

Although Caraway is produced in Holland, Egypt is a major additional source. The Dutch-type Caraway is the premium seed because of its uniform shape, consistent color, and its oil content. The Dutch variety is more aromatic and bitter than the Egyptian, which has a milder, rye flavor.



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