star anise

ground
5.0
based on 6 reviews
try me sample
0.25 oz
75¢
shaker jar
1.6 oz
$8
refill
1.6 oz
$7
large refill
6 oz
$19
view packaging
VARIANTS
whole pieces
ground
Like other spices that contain anetole, ground star anise has a licorice-like flavor and aroma that is warm and sweet. It will add a bit of complexity to your dish in that its flavor also hints at mint and clove.

Perhaps it is this complexity that makes it an appealing addition to meats and stews as well as to other savory dishes. It adds a decidedly deep richness to onions, poultry, citrus, duck, beef, and other foods. It's a star ingredient in Chinese five spice powder, and whole pods are often simmered in making the broth for Vietnamese pho. It is also found in sweeter fall treats like ciders, nogs, and baked desserts.
QUICK INFO
star anise , ground
INGREDIENTS
Star anise
TASTING NOTES
Has spicy hints of licorice, anise seed, and fennel with a sweet roundness in its aftertaste.
AROMA
Licorice-like aroma, warm and pungent.
PAIRINGS
Pair with cardamom or ginger to enhance the pungent eucalyptus notes; pair with baking spices like cinnamon, nutmeg/mace, or allspice to enhance sweetness; add complexity with juniper's citrusy undertones.
PLANT PART
seed pod
PROCESSING / FORM
ground
BOTANICAL NAME
Illicium verum
ORIGIN
China
BOTANICAL NAME
Illicium verum
AKA
star anise
star anise seed
star aniseed
staranise
Chinese star anise
badian anise
Siberian anise
This evergreen tree from the magnolia family is native to southwest China where it still grown extensively. The tree has lance-shaped leaves, and light yellow blossoms. Star anise spice is the seed pod from the fruit of this tree. These seed pods form in the shape of a star, with 6-10 oblong carpels radiating from a central point. Each carpel tapers to a point forming the "star." These distinctive looking pods begin green then ripen to brown; though they are harvested before this stage while still immature. After harvesting star anise pods are sun-dried and become hard and woody; their color darkens to a rich brown, and their carpels often split revealing a luminous, smooth single seed, rust-colored and shiny. The whole pod emits an intense licorice-like aroma.

Star anise is often confused with anise seed—a spice in the parsley family—not only because of its similar name but also because of its similar flavor. Both spices contain the oil anethol which gives both their licorice-like taste and aroma. In appearance, Illicium verum looks very similar to Illicium anistatum which is highly toxic.
CONFUSIONS

A lick of licorice
Anise and star anise are not the same spice, nor are they related species despite the similar name and flavor profile. They do both contain the organic compound anethole, which gives them their similar licorice flavor.

Fennel is another spice that contains anethole. It is a seed that is often confused with anise—due to its similar flavor profile and also to its similar appearance. Fennel seed is considerably larger and often brighter in color than anise seed. Anise seed, in addition to being smaller, also tends to have a small bit of stem "tail" attached to one end; whereas this happens only occasionally with fennel, it is much more frequent in anise seed.

Since anise seed is more expensive to produce than star anise, star anise has surpassed anise in production for anethole extraction and for commercial use in flavoring food products. Anethole is reputedly multiple times sweeter than sugar with the distinction of having a pleasant flavor at higher concentrations.

 
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REVIEWS (6)