Spice Advice: Caraway Seeds
You first met caraway that Nordic hot girl summer you were into Scandinavian spirits and only drank Aquavit, or maybe that’s just us! Caraway is native to Asia and has been cultivated in Europe since the Middle Ages where seeds were found in lake dwellings in Switzerland. Early uses were two-fold: medicinal (stomach tonic) and romantic (love potions). Julius Caesar’s army ate breads made with caraway seeds and the Romans conquering travels rooted its popularity.
Caraway seeds, which are actually the fruit of the plant and not the seed, are related to carrots, dill, fennel, and parsley. While prominent in both German and Eastern European food, caraway is also common in North African cuisine, and its pungent, tangy depth is found in our very own harissa. We could break down and rye all its uses but at the very yeast we should mention traditional Irish soda bread. Beyond breads and cakes, it’s excellent in potatoes, dumplings, sauerkraut, soups, and stews, and it’s a winner with duck duck goose.
Channel your inner Great British Bake Off and make a seed cake then toast and top with jam. Mix into store-bought cheese dip for an impressive hack. Quark dumplings with savoy cabbage and sausage will transport you to Bohemia. Add to a bright red cabbage salad with lingonberry, apples, and toasted walnuts. Toast ‘em and sprinkle over roasted root vegetables and potatoes.