Anise is a flowering plant. Its seed is used as a spice. It has both whole and ground forms. This spice is used in almost all parts of the world. That includes Germany, Italy, Middle East, India, and Mexico. People throughout the world use Anise for making desserts, biscotti, charcuterie, and more.
Anise has a similar name as Star Anise. However, both of these spices are completely different from each other. In fact, both belong to a completely different family of plants. Anise belongs to the Apiaceae family of plants, while Star Anise belongs to another. Besides, Star Anise is a native spice of China. And Anise has European roots. Star Anise is also cheaper than the Anise. So, you should have a clear understanding of both spices.
What does Anise Look Like?
The whole form of Anise spice has small fruits or seeds. It has light brownish-grey color. This is because it has small in size. And it normally looks like seeds. However, the ground form looks a little different. It has the same light brownish-grey color. However, the ground Anise looks like a powder. It resembles other ground spices available in the market.
Where does Anise Come From?
Anise comes from a plant. Its plant normally grows to around 3 ft. However, it can also grow longer sometimes. This plant has simple base leaves with a height of 10 to 50 mm. But the upper portion of the plant has feathery pinnate leaves. These leaves are divided into various tiny leaflets.
In the past, the Anise plant was first cultivated in Egypt, Europe, and the Middle East. Along with its fame for spices, its plant can also be used as an herb as it tastes resembles fennel, tarragon, and licorice.
How is Anise Made?
Anise has a simple making process. First, the plant is used for making it. Then, once the plant is completely grown, the seeds are cultivated. Then, for making the whole Anise, the seeds are dried. While for making ground Anise, the seeds are further ground through various grinders. And then, the spice is ready for use.
What Does Anise Taste Like?
Anise tastes like licorice. Its taste is a good blend of mildly spicy and sweet. It is super aromatic. Its unique flavor was first produced by an organic compound called anethole. This compound relates to estragole. Estragole produces basil and tarragon flavors. Anise-flavored liqueurs also have anethole in them. That’s why when you mix it with water, you will find cloudy looks in the drink.
Moreover, people normally confuse Anise with fennel. Both of these spices have similar flavors and the same-looking plants. Both Fennel and Anise belong to the same plant family. However, both are different spices. Fennel is a normal service as a vegetable. However, Anise is a spice and is used for different cooking purposes.
How is Anise Used in Cooking?
Anise is used for various cooking purposes. Firstly, you can add both ground and whole Anise to the dough for baking. You can also use this spice in fruit fillings while making pie. Another major use of Anise is in ground meat before you bake it.
Along with cooking, Anise is also used for drinking. Its extracts are also used as a flavor. Due to its great taste, people also use it in their drinks. It adds more to its flavor and improves its taste. While you can also use the seed for brewing a tea with licorice flavor.
What Types of Cuisines Use Anise?
Anise is used in almost all types of cuisines. However, its major use is found in baking and drinking goods. Due to its sweet taste has high use in baking items, for instance, cake, pie, and more. Its sweet taste is one reason behind its fame. So, it is mainly used for making sweet after food. Moreover, you can also use it in hot chocolate, coffee, and alcoholic beverages. Some beverages include absinthe, ouzo, sambuca, and anisette.
What is an Anise Substitute?
You are in the middle of cooking something. You need Anise to put on. You open the cabinet and find no Anise. What will you do now? You can use any substitute for it. Because like all other spices, Anise also has some substitutes. The best substitute for Anise will be Fennel. As already discussed above, Anise has a taste that highly resembles Fennel. And both make a great substitute for each other. Besides, you can also use few drops of anise extract or even Anise Star as a substitute. However, if you are using Star Anise, grind it well before using it because it has a woody texture. People cannot chew it.
Where to Buy Anise?
Some good places to buy Anise are discussed below.