Caraway of commerce is the fruit of a biennial herb. The plant has a fleshy root and slender branched stem that attains a height of 0.5 to 0.6 mtrs, with small white flowers in compound umbels. The fruit when ripened splits into narrow elongated carpel, 4 to 6.5mm long, curved, pointed at ends with 5 longitudinal ridges on the surface. The dried fruit is brown in colour has pleasant odour is with sharp taste. Seeds are hard and sharp to touch.
Origin and Distribution
It is a native of North and Central Europe and is extensively cultivated in Holland, Russia, Poland, Bulgaria, Denmark, Rumania, Syria, Morocco, and to a small extent in England, and US. It is cultivated as a cold season crop in the hills of Kashmir and Kumaon at an altitude of above 2750 MSL.
Caraway is widely used as a spice for culinary purposes and for flavouring bread, biscuits, cakes and cheese. It is also used for seasoning sausages and as medicine.
Indian Name of Spices
Hindi : Siya zira or Shia zira Bengali : Jira or Zira Kannada : Shime jeerige Kashmiri : Gunyun Malayalam : Shima jirakam Marathi : Vilaiti zirah Sindhi : Kalu Duru Punjabi : Zira-siah Sanskrit : Sushavi Tamil : Shimai shambu Telugu : Sima jirakai
Foreign Name of Spices
Arabic : Karaway Dutch : Karwif French : Grainsde Carvi Chinese : Fang Feng Greek : Karo Italian : Caro