This oil is steam distilled from the dried, crushed, ripe fruit of Carum Carvi, a small herb which grows wild in Asia, Europe, North Africa and in the northwestern United States. The plant is cultivated in Holland, Denmark, Poland, USSR, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Germany, England, Spain, Tunisia, India, and Pakistan. The four first-named countries are main suppliers of the fruits; Holland is the largest producer of the essential oil. Other countries supply smaller quantities, and the Dutch oil is considered superior, although the scarce English distilled oil (partly from foreign fruits) is also of high flavor quality.
Caraway Oil is offered on the market in at least two grades:
1) “crude” or “natural” caraway oil—and
2) “double rectified” or “redistilled” caraway oil.
Crude caraway oil is the direct distillate. It is a pale yellow to brownish, mobile liquid, possessing a strong and peculiar odor typical of the fruit, but with a fatty-harsh undertone. The taste is similar, but quite burning, warm, biting. Rectified caraway oil is colorless or very pale yellow. The odor is stronger, less fatty. The flavor is warmer, less sweet and more biting than that of the crude (natural) oil. Since the main constituents of caraway oil, Carvone and Limonene (both in the dextro-rotatory form) are available as synthetic chemicals, the use of caraway oil has been decreasing considerably during recent years. Apart from the two materials mentioned, however, trace amounts of other ingredients actually decide the characteristic odor of true caraway oil.