Anise seed is a powerful plant that is rich in many nutrients and boasts a wide array of health benefits.
- anti-fungal, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties
- may fight stomach ulcers
- keep blood sugar levels in check
- reduce symptoms of depression and menopause
Anise seeds are the seeds of the anise plant (Pimpinella anisum), which is a flowering annual that’s native to the eastern Mediterranean region and Southwest Asia. Just a small amount of the oval-shaped, green-ish brown seeds adds a licorice-like flavor that’s refreshing, fruity, and bitter at the same time.
Anise seed is not the same thing as star anise. In fact, they’re not even related. Anise seed is not the same as star anise, these are different plants that belong to distinctive botanical families. However, their flavor is similar because they both have anethole that gives them their unique flavor that resembles licorice and fennel.
Star anise is a star-shaped pod that grow on evergreen shrubs native to Southwest China. Both the pods and the seeds they contain are used in cooking. The whole pods can flavor soups, like pho, stews, and braises, but they do not soften when cooked, so they cannot be eaten. They can also be used in sweeter applications, like chai or mulled wine. The major culinary difference between anise and star anise is that anise seed is potent, with an almost spicy flavor, while star anise is subtly milder.
Anise seed is commonly used in sweet dishes or candy due to its licorice flavor profile. It's also used in more savory foods especially Italian sausage. Liqueurs like ouzo, Pernod, chartreuse, and anisette use anise seed as the main flavoring ingredient.