Anise Pimpinella anisum L.
It is a native of Egypt, Greece, Crete and Asia Minor and was cultivated by the ancient Egyptians.
Cultivated in Tuscany in Roman times.
In the Middle Ages its cultivation spread to Central Europe.
Anise is a dainty, white-flowered urnbelliferous annual, about 18 inches high, with secondary feather-like leaflets of bright green, hence its name (of medieval origin), Pimpinella, from dipinella, or twice pinnate, in allusion to the form of the leaves. Southern Russia, Bulgaria, Germany, Malta, Spain, Italy, North Africa and Greece producing large quantities.
It has also been introduced into India and South America.
The cultivated plant attains a considerably larger size than the wild one.
The tiny fruits of this graceful plant, which are commonly called seeds, have been used for centuries and have been mentioned in ancient
herbals, as well as in texts on medicine, folklore, cookery, confectionery, perfumery, and witchcraft.
Smells like liquorice. Anise is sweet and very aromatic, distinguished by its characteristic flavour.
Tastes like liquorice, sweet and spicy.Its flavour has similarities with Star Anise and Fennel.
Health Benefits of Anise
Anise fruit yields on distillation from 2.5 to 3.5 per cent. of a fragrant, syrupy, volatile oil, of which anethol, present to about 90 per cent., is the principal aromatic constituent. It has a strong Anise odour and separates in the form of shining white crystalline scales on cooling the oil. Other constituents of the fruit are a fixed oil, choline, sugar and mucilage.
Oil of Anise, distilled in Europe from the fruits of Pimpinella anisum, Anise, and in China from the fruits of Illicium anisatum, Star Anise, a small tree indigenous to China, is colourless, or very pale yellow, with taste and odour like the fruit. The oils obtainable from these two fruits are identical in composition, and nearly the same in most of their characters, but that from Star Anise fruit congeals at a lower temperature. The powdered drug from Star Anise is administered in India as a substitute for the official fruit, and the oil is employed for its aromatic, carminative and stimulant properties. The bulk of the oil in commerce is obtained from the Star Anise fruit in China. The fruits are also often imported into France and the oil extracted there. Chinese Anise oil is harsh in taste.
Carminative and pectoral. Anise enjoys considerable reputation as a medicine in coughs and pectoral affections. In hard, dry coughs where expectoration is difficult, it is of much value. It is greatly used in the form of lozenges and the seeds have also been used for smoking, to promote expectoration.
In the Middle East, water is boiled with about a tablespoon of aniseed per teacup to make a special hot tea called yansoon.
The essential oil has reportedly been used as an insecticide against head-lice and mites.
Buying and storing
The leaves of the anise plant can be used as an herb. The seeds of the anise plant, called aniseed or anise seeds, are used as a spice, either ground or whole.
All above-ground parts of the young anise plant can be eaten as a vegetable. The stems resemble those of celery in texture and have a much milder liquorice flavour than the seeds.
As a spice, anise is the dried seeds of the Pimpinella anisum, a plant better known as aniseed.
Its notable for its taste, but it can also be used to remove the characteristic smells from fish, meat and oil.
The leaves can be used as an herbal tea ingredient and should be cut from the plants before they flower.
I like to harvest the seeds when they’re still green and keep them in the refrigerator. But, they can be dried on the plants and then stored without refrigeration.Do not forget to label.
The fruit, or so-called seeds. When threshed out, the seeds may be easily dried in trays, in a current of air in half-shade, out-of-doors, or by moderate heat. When dry, they are greyish brown, ovate, hairy, about one-fifth of an inch long, with ten crenate ribs and often have the stalk attached. They should be free from earthy matter. The taste is sweet and spicy, and the odour aromatic and agreeable.
Anise is used to flavour Middle Eastern arak, Colombian aguardiente, French spirits absinthe, anisette and pastis.In quite a few liquor’s worldwide. Anise seeds are the basis for a number of alcoholic beverages, including ouzo and sambuca.
Ideas with cooking with Anise
Great in curries and stews.
Used in desserts use anise to flavour some dishes, drinks, and candies, and the word is used for both the species of herb and its liquorice-like flavour.
Added to certain doughs, most often sweet breads.
Aniseed is used in a various baked goods and desserts, for example Italian biscotti, cookies and macaroons.
The seeds, whole or powdered, are used in a wide variety of regional and ethnic confectioneries, including the black jelly bean and , British aniseed balls, Australian humbugs, New Zealand aniseed wheels, Italian pizzelle, German Pfeffernüsse and Springerle, Austrian Anisbögen, Netherland muisjes, Norwegian knotts, New Mexican Bizcochitos, and Peruvian picarones.
It is a key ingredient in Mexican atole de anís or champurrado, which is similar to hot chocolate.
Taken as a digestive after meals in India.
Anise is also used in the Vietnamese noodle soup Pho.
Wonderful used in jams and jellies.
Used to flavour some tisanes (“herbal teas”) and teas, as well as some coffees.
Anise-flavoured sweets are common in Moroccan cuisine, and can be paired with coffee or tea.