My mom always called the seeds in rye bread caraway. But they are in Italian sausage and a jar labeled fennel seeds.
Are they the same thing?
Fennel and caraway are relatives, but not the same plant. Fennel seeds have a flavor dominated by anise/licorice, where caraway is quite different, being dominated by other flavors. They also have subtle differences in appearance.
Cumin, anise, and dill are other look-alike seeds with very different flavors. Anise and fennel have very similar flavors, and can be substituted for each other. Caraway and dill are likewise similar in flavor. Cumin has a flavor different from any of the above. I am including pictures of fennel, caraway, anise, cumin, and dill seeds so you can see how similar they are, but also how there are subtle differences in shape.
Anise Seed: It is hard to tell from the picture, but anise seeds are much smaller than fennel.
Cumin Seeds: note, these vary considerably in color
Dill Seeds: (note how much flatter theses are)
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