Desserts are also a natural place to use the licorice-flavored spice, and it works especially well with traditional fall and winter recipes. This time, it’s star anise.
It is an evergreen tree or shrub attaining a height of 8 to 15 meters (26 to 49 feet) and a diameter of 25 cm (10 in). Privacy Statement Star anise is the seed pod from an evergreen tree, Illicium verum, that grows in China.
In Biblical times, anise was so highly prized that it was often used for tithes, offerings and payment of taxes in Palestine. She is based in northern New York and is also an associate editor at Adirondack Life magazine. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier B.V. or its licensors or contributors. Max Falkowitz at Serious Eats describes it as having a “luxurious headiness along subtle sweet and herbal notes.” It’s subtler than the medicinal taste of black jelly beans or my least favorite liquor, Jägermeister, but it can still overpower a dish if used immoderately. Star anise or its oil is used for flavouring kitchen and bakery preparations and in beverages, cosmetics and aromatherapy. And Bobby Flay’s pumpkin bread pudding (via Food Republic) is topped with a caramel apple sauce spiced with star anise, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. My first stab at an answer to the title question—what do you do with it—might have been: Turn it into earrings! Anise is an antioxident, contains B vitamins, and is a natural anti-septic that promotes good digestion and increased immune system. Beyond the kitchen, it’s also a vital component of the influenza-fighting drug Tamiflu—although scientists have figured out a way to manufacture its active ingredient, shikimic acid, in recent years. The options are wide open, but there are a few classic combinations that are a good place to start.