Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Caraway (Carum carvi)

Caraway is a biennial and grows to a height of up to 2 feet with a spread of 12 inches. It has a thick, tapering root like that of a parsnip. The leaves resemble those of carrots but tend to droop more. The flowers, in umbellifer clusters, are white tinged with pink and appear in mid summer. The oval seeds are pointed at each end and are very dark brown. It takes two years for caraway to mature and bear flowers. The stems of the delicate flowers produce seed cases, each containing two seeds.

How to grow
Caraway are grown from seed. Directly sow seeds 1/2 inch depth into your garden and cover lightly with soil. Space seedlings or thin plants to 12" apart in rows 12 inches apart. Caraway prefers full sun and a well drained soil. They will do well in average soils and tolerate dry soil conditions. Water them during dry periods, once a week. Add a general purpose fertilizer once or twice a season. Germination in 2 to 3 weeks. Caraway Harvest leaves as soon as there is enough to meet your needs.

They can be used to flavor pickles, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and rye bread; or serve them in the traditional old English manner-in a small dish along with baked apples. Volatile oil of caraway is not only used in cosmetic industry in making perfumes, but also in therapeutic purposes, because it reacts efficiently in treating the gastro-intestinal tract. it is a gastric and intestinal antiseptic and diuretic. Caraway plays an important part in stimulating food appetite and digestion. It also strengthens the body's immune system and alleviates cold symptoms.

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