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One of the modern world's most widely used seeds, caraway has probably been cultivated and consumed in Europe longer than any other spice. Enjoy its distinctive taste in breads, biscuits and cookies, or in salads and other vegetable dishes. Caraway is a member of the parsley family, belonging to the genus Carum, and the species carvi. A hardy biennial that self-sows, the Caraway plant is sparsely leafed and hollow with branching flower stems, and dainty, white flowers. The fleshy root, which tastes somewhat like carrots, is yellowish on the outside and whitish on the inside. The tiny, curved seed--which is actually one-half piece of the fruit of the plant--is brown and hard. Archeologists know that caraway seeds date way back--they found the tiny seeds in a pile of 5,000 year-old debri left by primitive Mesolithic lake dwellers in Switzerland. More evidence of its longevity is written; it's in Dioscorides' Ebers papyrus of 1552 BC, as well as a 12th century German medical book and a 14th century English cookbook. Medieval cooks--who used the leaves, root and seed--found caraway an easy way to add flavor and zest to plain food, and caraway seed cake was traditional feast fare of the farmers. A time-honored ingredient in love potions, caraway was reputed to have power against evil, as well. In Elizabethan times, caraway seeds were served with roasted apples. They were also popular additions to other baked fruits and cakes and were commonly sprinkled on buttered bread at tea.