The Carrot Family

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About
In addition to many leafy herbs, the carrot family also gives us a number of our favorite spices. The aromatic “seeds” of plants in the carrot family are actually small but complete fruits that are dry rather than fleshy. They are borne in pairs, enclosed in a protective husk, and are usually sold husked and separated. The individual fruits have a characteristic ridged surface, and their aromatic oil is contained in canals that lie under the ridges.

Carrot family anatomy. Fennel seeds. Seeds of plants in the carrot family carry their essential oil in hollow chambers beneath their outer ridges.