Spices add up more taste and flavor into the food dishes and make them delicious. Most of the spices come with a nutritious value also.
There are several types of spices that are small seeds and have similarities in their appearances. Cumin and caraway are those types of tiny seeds that look almost the same but have distinctive flavor and taste.
- Cumin seeds have a warm, earthy flavor and are used extensively in Indian, Middle Eastern, and Mexican cuisines. In contrast, caraway seeds have a slightly sweet, anise-like taste and are popular in European dishes.
- Cumin seeds are oval and light brown, while caraway seeds are curved, elongated, and darker in color.
- Both cumin and caraway seeds have various medicinal properties, aiding digestion and providing anti-inflammatory benefits.
Cumin vs Caraway Seeds
Cumin seeds are light brown and have a stronger and hotter taste. It also has a warm, earthly, and slightly pungent flavor. Caraway seeds are darker in color, smaller, and bitter. Caraway seeds are also highly aromatic and have a nutty bittersweet sharpness with a hint of pepper.
Cumin is a very popular spice that is native to the region of Iran-Turanian. Each of the cumin seeds has a fruit that is dried and is used in making foods of many cultures in both ground form and whole form.
Cumin is often confused with caraway seeds as these two look almost the same.
Caraway seeds refer to the dried fruits of Carum carvi or caraway plant. Caraway plant has been cultivated from the neolithic age for its medicinal values and culinary usages.
The seeds of caraway are not the actual seeds- each of the caraway fruit has a single seed. Generally, caraway is cultivated and its seeds are dried in the sun.
|Parameters of Comparison||Cumin seeds||Caraway Seeds|
|Plant name||Cuminum cyminum.||Carum carvi or caraway plant.|
|Origin||Western Asia.||Western Asia, Northern Africa, and Europe.|
|Appearance||Yellowish-brown colored, oval-shaped, and 6 mm long.||Crescent-shaped and have 5 pale ridges. Its color is darker compared to cumin.|
|Taste||Warmer and stronger taste compared to caraway seeds.||Bitter taste.|
|Cuisine||Popular in Latin American, Middle Eastern, and Indian cuisine.||Popular among European cuisines.|
|Usages||Indian curries, burgers, casseroles, spice blends, sauces, and so on.||Coleslaw and potato salads, seed cake, soda, rye bread, liqueurs, stews, soups, and so on.|
What is Cumin Seeds?
Cumin seeds are fragrant, deeply earthy spices that have a strong and warm flavor. Cumin seeds come in both ground and whole forms and are very popular in culinary cultures in various regions of the world.
It is an ancient spice that is native to western Asia. It is also found in ancient Egypt. In Egyptian culture, cumin seeds are used in culinary and as a preserving substance in the mummies.
Currently, this spice is the most popular in Latin America, India, Northern Africa, and Middle Eastern cuisines.
Cumin seeds are used in cooking both in the form of ground and whole. The whole seed is added to the oil at the starting point of cooking so that the flavor of the seed mixes well with the oil and the ingredients added after that.
The ground form of the seed is made by grinding the roasted cumin seeds. The ground form of the cumin can be added at any point of the cooking.
Cumin seeds contain an essential oil that helps in stimulating the saliva glands which eventually help in food digestion. It is rich in fiber which helps in boosting the gastrointestinal tract activities.
Cumins are widely used in medicines for curing and preventing digestive issues like constipation and piles. It is also high in potassium which helps to control the levels of blood pressure.
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What is Caraway Seeds?
Caraway seeds refer to the dried fruits of the caraway plant, but those fruits are referred to as seeds in the cooking world.
The caraway seed has a bittersweet nutty sharp taste with a hint of anise, pepper, and citrus. The highly concentrated natural essential oil presented in the caraway seed gives it its unique flavor.
These volatile oils provide health and medicinal benefits. Caraway seeds have a stimulating sharp aroma which is slightly peppery or minty for its essential oils like anethole, limonene, and carvone.
The caraway seed is crescent-shaped achenes and has 5 pale ridges. The achenes are of the caraway seed measure almost 0.08 inches long.
Many people tend to confuse it with cumin and fennel as these three look almost the same. But it is darker in color than cumin seeds.
Caraway seeds are considered to be very healthy to the human body as they are rich in minerals like potassium, calcium, manganese, copper, magnesium, and iron.
The antioxidants and fiber present in caraway seed helps to reduce the bad cholesterol level and also increase the good cholesterol level. It is considered to be beneficial for reducing blood sugar levels.
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Main Differences Between Cumin and Caraway Seeds
- Cumin is the dried form of Cuminum cyminum, on the other hand, caraway is the dried form of Carum carvi or caraway plant.
- Cumin seeds are yellowish-brown colored, oval-shaped, and 6 mm long, whereas caraway seeds are crescent-shaped and have 5 pale ridges. Its color is darker compared to cumin.
- Cumin tastes warmer and is a stronger taste compared to caraway seeds and caraway seeds are more bitter compared to cumin seeds.
- Cumin seeds are widely used in Middle Eastern, Latin American, and Indian cuisine, but caraway seeds are only popular among European cuisines.
- Cumin seeds are used in Indian curries, burgers, casseroles, spice blends, sauces, and so on. Caraway seeds are used in Coleslaw and potato salads, seed cake, soda, rye bread, liqueurs, stews, soups, and so on.
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Sandeep Bhandari holds a Bachelor of Engineering in Computers from Thapar University (2006). He has 20 years of experience in the technology field. He has a keen interest in various technical fields, including database systems, computer networks, and programming. You can read more about him on his bio page.