Carum - Caraway
DESCRIPTION: This tall, frost-hardy biennial is an ancient herb cultivated for its aromatic seeds and tender young leaves. It is found wild in European countries and Morocco. Caraway plants form rosettes of carrot-like foliage the first season and stalks topped with clusters of white flowers the next. The flowers produce an abundance of seeds. Caraway seeds are used for flavoring in confectionery. A fragrant oil that is obtained from the seeds is said to have carminative and stimulant properties and is used for flavoring. In Holland, the oil is used to flavor Kummel liqueur. Tender young leaves give a Caraway flavor when mixed with greens and salads.
POTTING: Plant Caraway in fertile, well-drained soil in a position in full sun. The seed crop matures faster if you stop watering when flowers form. This plant needs to grow into a sturdy plant in order to survive the winter. Throughout the growing season, the young leaves may be harvested. Cut the flower stems when the seeds start to dry and hang them over newspapers to catch the seeds as they fall. To thresh, put dry plants into a large cloth bag and beat the bag against a post to dislodge the seeds; then sift seeds through a 3 -inch mesh hardware cloth to remove the chaff.
PROPAGATION: In regions with short summers, sow seeds outside as soon as the soil can be worked. Farther south, sow them outside in late summer or autumn for bloom the next season.
VARIETIES: C. carvi.
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