Species: Carum carvi L.
Other common names: Caraway, Kümmel, German cumin.
Plant widespread in Central Europe. In Italy it is present in the meadows and pastures of the Alpine arc (from 800 to 2400 meters), rarer in the northern Apennines, absent in the remaining areas.
Caraway (photo www.gov.nf.ca)
Caraway (photo www.plantsystematics.org)
Biennial or perennial herbaceous plant with erect, branched stem, up to 60 cm tall. leaves 2-3 times pinnate seven in segments in the form of lacinias, sublinear or lanceolate the lower ones, capillary or filiform the upper ones. The inflorescences are 7-12 ray umbels, which bear small, white or pink flowers. The fruits (called seeds) are ovoid-oblong achenes with well-marked and highly aromatic ribs.
Sow in the spring (using fresh seeds for good germination) directly outdoors in a sunny area and on loose and fertile soil. Thin out the seedlings if too dense.
Collection and conservation
Collect the tender leaves and use them fresh. The fruits are to be harvested in late summer, starting from the second year.
Use in the kitchen and therapeutic properties
The young leaves have a flavor reminiscent of anise and are excellent in salads and soups. The seeds are used to prepare sweets and breads, meat dishes and the well-known aromatic and digestive liqueur Kümmel.
Therapeutic properties: digestive, aperitif, carminative, antiseptic, expectorant.