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Caraway, An Old Plant Used For Agricultural Crops

Caraway dates back thousands of years. This plant is considered a biannual. Biannual means it takes two years for the plant to complete its life cycle. This fragrant specimen can self sow year after year from the fallen seeds.

The ancient Swiss and Romans cultivated this herb by growing it in their gardens. Today, it is grown as an agricultural crop in India, Turkey, Siberia, Persia, and North Africa. Smaller amounts of this crop are used for agricultural purposes in Holland, Germany and England. It is also found wild in northwestern United States, Europe and Asia.

Caraway Seeds

A great attribute with his spice is that it can be planted in any type of garden setting.

In the first year, the leaves take on a feathery form and are bright green in color. They form a mound and grow to about two feet tall. The leaves will die out the first year.

In the following spring, the leaves will reappear, and white and pink flowers blossom in the shape of an umbrella. The flowers start blooming in the early summer and will continue until the cooler temperatures set in.

One to two months after the flowers bloom, seeds will begin to appear on the plant and the leaves will begin to die out. Pinch the flower stalks as they develop, as this will help the plant live another year, as well as grow into a much healthier specimen.

The seed can be sown in spring. The seeds can also be put into the ground in early fall in warmer climates. The germination process is slow. It's best best to leave the seeds untouched. Caraway grows successfully in a well drained and loose soil.

Watering can be done at regular intervals. This plant doesn't transplant well. The recommendation is to plant the rows at least three feet apart. Space them about seven inches to a foot in between each plant.

If you do a single row several feet long, it will produce enough seed for your family for a year. In colder climates, heavily mulch before the ground freezes.

The entire Caraway plant gives a great aroma from the roots, stems and leaves. The root is considered a tap root and grows in a slender form to about eight to nine inches long. It has a yellow tone to it and when cooked, turns into a rich creamy white color. The root is used as a vegetable today in Switzerland and Germany.

Harvesting the leaves should be done when the the herb is established. You can go ahead and pick the young leaves. A special feature of this plant is: if you don't want to use the leaves for culinary purposes, use the stems with leaves for a bouquet. This creates a nice center piece for your table.

The seed heads are cut in the second year when they start turning brown. You can take the heads and place them on a cloth on a screen or tray in either the sun or shade. Another option is to put the seed heads in a paper bag and hang upside down until completely dry.

Once the seed heads are dry, rub the heads with the palm of your hands and put the seeds in an air tight container. You can also put some seeds in a sealed bag in a basket with a decorative small pot.

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Today this herb is used in a variety of different culinary dishes. The French and English like to take the fresh leaves and incorporate the leaves into a delicious salad. They also will chop the leaves up and use them in different flavored soups. Herbee and I love taking a fresh apple and dipping each slice into some crushed seeds.

Other popular foods and dishes are accented with these seeds, such as meats, breads, pastries, cakes and accent toppings on vegetables. The oil that is extracted from this plant is very popular in some liqueurs. A very popular one is called kummel. The oil is also used in different commercial soaps and perfumes.

As with so many other herbs, Caraway also has some medicinal value. The crushed seeds make a wonderful herbal tea. Take two cups of water and add four teaspoons of the crushed seeds. Simmer for around five to ten minutes. Remove from heat and let simmer for another fifteen to twenty minutes. You can add a little sweetener such as honey.

This is a great aid for anti-gas, as well as relaxing other muscles of the body. Caraway is also good for the common cold. Please consult your physician before using any herbal products.

An idea for a multi style garden is a combination of an herb, flower, and vegetables. To learn how to combine these three, follow the link at the bottom of the page.

Whether you are using this plant specimen for its fresh leaves, garden enjoyment, or seeds, Caraway is a very special herb that can be enjoyed by so many different cultures.

Other Articles You Might Be Interested In.

Vegetable, Herb, And Flower Garden --- Allspice

Learn How To Plan A Garden --- More Spices Besides Caraway

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