The caraway, which is also called with the name of caraway or German cumin, is part of the family of the Umbelliferae, to the genus Carum and to the caraway species.
It is a biennial herbaceous plant, which can reach a height between 50 and 70 centimeters and a width of about 30 centimeters, with an erect posture with extremely smooth and thin stems.
The roots are taproots, with a very elongated shape and a particularly high thickness.
The leaves are alternate and are characterized by having a petiole, extremely fragrant, smooth and very fine, with incisions that reach considerably in depth.
The flowers have a rather small size, with a white or pink color and they aggregate inside inflorescences that are called by the name of umbels.
Flowering occurs during the initial part of the summer season, especially in the months of June and July.
The fruits, which are seeds, have a particular black color and ripen during the autumn season.
The part of the cumin plant which is used the most is represented by the seed, while the roots and leaves are used much less.
Climate and terrain
Cumin prefers those areas characterized by a temperate climate and has an excellent level of resistance against particularly cold winter seasons.
The best exposures are represented by those environments in full sun or with a slight shade.
Cumin has a particular preference for loose, fertile and extremely rich in organic matter, well drained and slightly calcareous soils.
It is a plant that manages to vegetate very well even on clayey and subacid soils, while it does not tolerate humid and compact soils, since the danger is mainly represented by the formation of possible water stagnations, which can be the cause of the plant's death. .
The German cumin develops very well in the alpine areas from 1000 meters up to 2000 meters above sea level.
Furthermore, the cultivation of German cumin is carried out mainly in the central part of the old continent, especially in the Netherlands.
Cumin propagates by seed and sowing can occur in the seedbed during the first part of the spring season, in order to obtain seedlings that can be transplanted after a few months.
Alternatively, you can also choose to sow in the field at the end of the spring season or even at the beginning of autumn.
The seeds must be placed at least 2-3 cm deep in the soil and germination takes place after a period of about 10-15 days.
After the seedlings have managed to develop up to a height of 5 cm, a thinning is performed which serves to maintain a distance of about 20-30 cm between them, in such a way as to have a density of 15- 25 plants per square meter.
The advice is to take advantage of large rotations, trying not to sow caraway or another crop that is part of the same family on the same ground over the next 4-5 years.
Weed management must be carried out with weeding between one row and the next.
German cumin is characterized by being a plant that needs to receive large quantities of phosphorus, which must be distributed together with potassium, while nitrogen must be administered to the plant avoiding excesses in order not to favor the formation of water stagnations which, as we already know, they can be very dangerous for the life of the cumin plant.
Harvesting must be completed in July and August of the year following sowing, since it is a biennial plant.
Umbrellas must absolutely be cut when the first seeds begin to fall: then they must be dried in a tray that is not in the light, which is dry and enjoys good air circulation.
The cumin leaves must be harvested one month after sowing and are used fresh.
From the seeds of the German cumin it is possible to extract up to 3-5% of the essential oil, inside which you can find a particular substance, which is called by the name of carvone, which can boast remarkable antiseptic properties and limonene.
Cumin can really be considered as a medicinal plant, since it is able to ensure the carrying out of a digestive and antispasmodic action.
Cumin is used essentially for treatments in all those cases in which indigestion, flatulence, bloating, diarrhea, colic, intestinal cramps, gastric ulcer, bronchitis occur and also manages to increase the secretion of milk during the lactation phase.
Cumin works as an excellent breath and mouth freshener and is used as cologne; moreover, this plant is used in hot water to carry out refreshing and purifying baths.