When I think of Polish cooking three popular herbs which always spring to mind are caraway, dill and parsley.
They all belong to the Apiaceae family which includes carrot and celery.
This family is also called Umbelliferae (from the Latin – umbella – for parasol or sunshade) – the flower heads consists of umbels which have equal length flower stalks coming from a central point which forms a flattened head – rather like an umberella.
Carum carvi is caraway – kminek – in Polish.
It is native to Europe, North Africa & Western Asia.
Caraway fruits are often called seeds.
Caraway is thought to be an aid to digestion.
In 2011 Finland supplied over 25% of the world’s caraway.
Caraway is often added to rye bread, to dishes with sauerkraut and also many meat dishes, especially pork, such as Sauerkraut & Bacon, Pork & Prunes and Pork & Sauerkraut Gulasz.
Caraway is often added to twaròg (Polish soft curd cheese)
Anethum graveolens is dill – koperek – in Polish.
Dill is grown for its leaves, which are fern like, and its seeds.
Dill leaves are best when used fresh (I never bother with dried dill).
Dill leaves are used as a topping for many salads and for boiled new potatoes.
Dill leaves are added to twaròg (Polish soft curd cheese) and smetana (soured cream).
Dill leaves are used in sauces including ones served with fish.
Dill seeds are similar in flavour to caraway seeds.
Dill seeds are used in dill pickles – – which are cucumbers preserved in brine – Ogórki – Gherkins
The name of the Polish astronomer – Copernicus in Polish is Kopernik (so in Polish he is Mr Dill!)
Petroselinum crispum is flat leaf parsley – pietruszka – in Polish
Chopped flat leafed parsley leaves are added as a garnish or topping for many salads and savoury dishes.
Petroselinum crispum tubersum
This is Parsley root or Hamburg parsley.
Flat leafed parsley is also grown for its white tap root which looks a lot like parsnip and is also used in Polish cookery, often added to casseroles.
I have seen this for sale in Polish markets, you might find it in the larger Polish shops that have fresh produce.
Parsley root grated with apple or pear and with added lemon juice is one suggestion for a fresh salad.
10 thoughts on “Caraway & Dill & Parsley”
Great post. It’s funny how different countries develop their own flavors with simple spice combinations. Thank you.
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