The star anise grows as an evergreen tree and belongs to the anise family.
It becomes about 6-10 meters high. Its leaves are leathery, tough and lanceolate.
The red-brown, corky-wood collective fruits emerge from the greenish-yellow flowers. These fruits in turn usually consist of eight bellow fruit capsules arranged in a star shape around the central axis. This is the edible part, the yellow-brown, glossy seeds we know.
The seeds are harvested in October, i.e. in autumn, before the first frost.
Dried whole fruits or ground seeds.
Essential oil: of which 80-90% anethole; also monoterpenes,
fatty oil, tannins.
Taste and smell:
It resembles aniseed, but is fuller, fruity, hotter but a little bitter.
Cooking and kitchen use:
If the anise is cooked, you have to take it out in good time, otherwise it will be very dominant. You can, for example, season an entire roast with a star.
Drinks: tea blends, black tea, mulled wine, grog but also liqueurs such as pastis, anisette
Soups: fruit soups
Meat dishes: beef, pork and lamb, seasoned sweet and sour
Fish: Asian fish dishes
Poultry: sweet and sour dishes of chicken, turkey, goose and duck, poultry preparations with fruit fillings
Vegetables: red cabbage, savoy cabbage
Dessert: compotes of plums, apple, pear, pudding, creams, casseroles
It goes very well with pepper, cloves, cinnamon, ginger and fennel
It is a typical baking spice that is used especially during the Christmas season.
For example, it is used for aniseed cookies, springerle, gingerbread or other small baked goods.
Use in dietetics:
Its essential oils stimulate the appetite and the tannins have a calming effect on the gastrointestinal tract. This helps with mild cramps, bloating and flatulence.