Difference Between Cumin and Caraway Seeds

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 vs Caraway Seeds

The main difference between cumin and caraway seeds is that cumin refers to the dried herb named Cuminum cyminum, a member of the family of parsley. It is an oval-shaped yellowish-brown seed, on the other hand, caraway seeds refer to the dried form of a plant named Carum carvi. These seeds are long and crescent-shaped and have 5 pale ridges.

Cumin vs Caraway Seeds

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.

Comparison Table Between Cumin and Caraway Seeds

Parameters of ComparisonCumin seedsCaraway Seeds
Plant name Cuminum cyminum.  Carum carvi or caraway plant.
OriginWestern Asia.     Western Asia, Northern Africa, and Europe.
AppearanceYellowish-brown colored, oval-shaped, and 6 mm long.      Crescent-shaped and have 5 pale ridges. Its color is darker compared to cumin.
TasteWarmer and stronger taste compared to caraway seeds.     Bitter taste.
CuisinePopular in Latin American, Middle Eastern, and Indian cuisine.     Popular among European cuisines.
UsagesIndian 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.

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.

Caraway is a flowering aromatic plant that belongs to the parsley family. It is also called Persian Cumin or Meridian Fennel.

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.

Main Differences Between Cumin and Caraway Seeds 

  1. Cumin is the dried form of Cuminum cyminum, on the other hand, caraway is the dried form of Carum carvi or caraway plant.
  2. 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.
  3. Cumin tastes warmer and is a stronger taste compared to caraway seeds and caraway seeds are more bitter compared to cumin seeds.
  4. Cumin seeds are widely used in Middle Eastern, Latin American, and Indian cuisine, but caraway seeds are only popular among European cuisines.
  5. 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.
Difference Between Cumin and Caraway Seeds

Conclusion

Both cumin and caraway seeds are very popular spices that are widely used in culinary and also have medicinal benefits.

Both of these spices are available in almost all the supermarkets. The difference between cumin and caraway seeds lies in the difference in appearance, color, taste, and usage.

The cumin seed is more popular in Eastern countries, whereas caraway deeds are widely popular in the Western.

These two spices also have distinctive tastes- cumin seeds are warmer and stronger in taste, whereas caraway seeds are more bitter than cumin seeds, and for that, you can’t use these spices as the alternative to the other.

References

  1. https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C5&q=cumin+seed&btnG=#d=gs_qabs&u=%23p%3D4ubWL1BYRSsJ
  2. https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C5&q=caraway+seed&btnG=#d=gs_qabs&u=%23p%3DALHk0YyY6ogJ
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