A Star anise is a spice that is in the shape of a star. The other name for star anise is Chinese star anise, badian, star anise seed, and scientifically known as illicium verum. It is an evergreen shrub found mainly in southwest China.
It has a distinct flavor and is commonly used in kitchens and the medical industry. Star Anise is rich in Vitamin A and C and antioxidants, which help against early signs of aging and diabetes. It also helps in improving digestion, constipation, reducing gas and bloating, and indigestion.
How to Store Star Anise
Star anise is commonly used in cooking and very famous because of its health benefits. This is from the family of spices, specifically dry spices, thus making it easy to store. There are a couple of storage methods that you can adopt to increase the shelf life of your star anise.
We will tell you a different storage technique that will help you make your Star Anise last long; if you want to know those methods, this article is for you. Read on to know more about it.
You can store star anise in two forms; first in the form of seeds and second in leaves. You can store both forms in the pantry at room temperature. It won’t go bad until one year.
Star anise belongs to the family of spices which makes it prone to get spoiled due to moisture. That’s why always make sure your star anise is away from any moisture. To protect it from moisture, store it in an airtight container or sealed bag.
Away from Sunlight
Spices like star anise can also get spoiled if it is placed in direct sunlight exposure for a long time to make sure it is kept and stored in a dark place. Sunlight can heat the star anise, which can not be good for them and eventually decrease their life.
Refrigerate its Leaves
While talking about the leaves of star anise, you can also store the leaves in the refrigerator to protect them from moisture and lose their aroma. Place the unwashed leaves in the plastic bag, seal them, and put it in the refrigerator. It will start losing its aroma in a couple of weeks, but the aroma goes away in a couple of days at room temperature.
Can You Freeze Star Anise
While talking about freezing, you can freeze the leaves of star anise. You can wash the leaves and put them in an airtight container. Frozen leaves can withhold the aroma for a year rather than putting in the refrigerator where they can lose their aroma in a couple of weeks.
On the other hand, remove the container of leaves only when you need them. Make sure it is frozen under a constant temperature; otherwise, it can negatively affect them. Keep in mind that after thawing the leaves, they will get wilt.
How Long Does Star Anise Last
If you buy anything from a grocery store, you will always wonder how long it will last. So, the question arises that how long does your star anise last? The answer is very simple: if you keep the whole star anise, not in a very hot temperature and not under direct sunlight, it will remain fresh for almost one year.
On the other hand, the ground spice; For example, the leaves of star anise can lose their flavor after six months, so To save the aroma and the flavor of the leaves, you can put them in a refrigerator, and the refrigerated leaves will last Its aroma for a couple of weeks. At the same time, the frozen leaves can hold their aroma and flavor for about one year.
How To Tell If Star Anise Is Bad
Everything can go bad or lose its taste after a certain time. If you buy star anise from the store, the expiration date will be labeled on the packet. It won’t go bad for star anises like fruits and vegetables, but other indications can tell you that your star anise has gone bad or no longer usable.
Let’s have a look at the indications that will be handy for you.
- Smell: You can use your nose to feel that specific aroma of star anise; if you notice any change or simply if there is no aroma coming out of your star anise, it indicates that you’re star anise is expired.
- Texture: While talking about the leaves of star anise, it can lose its aroma and flavor after a certain time if it is not kept under the proper conditions. The spoiled leaves will deteriorate their texture and eventually will get wilt.
What does Star Anise Look Like?
The look of the star anise is a little different from the other spices. Unlike other spices, which often have round, woody, or seed-like shapes, the star anise is different. It has a unique star-like structure. The pointed corners of this spice form star. That’s why it is called star anise. Each spice contains around 6 to 8 points. The points are equipped with small seeds. The pointed corners and overall spice are woody. It is rough, tough, and has a woody structure like the actual anise. While the points of this spice have a boat shape and contain 1 seed each. The color of this spice is reddish-brown.
Where does Star Anise Come From?
Highly aromatic star anise comes from the illicium verum plant. The plant contains numerous leaves of different sizes. Their sizes vary between 5 cm to 15 cm in length and 1.5 cm to 5 cm in width. Besides, it also contains flowers which have dark red to pink color. The fruits on this plant have a capsule-like structure with a star shape. While regionally, star anise is grown in different regions, including Indo-China, Japan, Vietnam, China, etc.
How is Star Anise Made?
For growing star anise, you must begin the process by planting seeds. You can also grow the plant through the cutting process. You can also grow it in the pods. Once you plant the seeds, water them, and take good care. It may take around 6 years for the plant to produce fruits. So, be patient with it. Once the fruits grow, they are picked when they are still green and unripped. Afterward, they are put under the sun to dry. During the drying process, these fruits change their color and become reddish-brown. Then, you should remove the seeds and store the star anise.
What Does Star Anise Taste Like?
Star anise has a very distinct taste. It is very strong and gives a combined flavor of spicy, warm, and sweet flavor. It resembles clove, fennel seeds, anise seeds, and licorice in taste. Its unique taste makes it suitable for both culinary and sweet dishes.
How is Star Anise Used in Cooking?
How you use anise depends on its type, i.e., ground and whole star anise. While using the whole form, you should simmer in the sauces, soups, marinades, etc. But make sure to remove the pods before serving. That’s because the pods are hard and do not soften even after being cooked. However, if you are using the ground form, then you can add it with other spices like paprika, etc., in the recipe.
What Types of Cuisines Use Star Anise?
Star anise is used in a lot of cuisines. Especially in Chinese and Indian cuisines, this spice is used in almost all cuisines. For example, you can add it to soups, meat like port and lamb, etc. While people also add it in gingerbread, pumpkin pie, and even drinks like chai, etc.
What is a Star Anise Substitute?
For replacing star anise, you can add few other ingredients to your recipe. These ingredients will give almost the same flavor as star anise. These ingredients are Chinese five-spice powder, normal anise, anise seeds, anise extract, fennel seeds, etc.
Where to Buy Star Anise?
You can get star anise in almost every grocery store. It is widely available everywhere. However, finding high quality can be a real challenge because plenty of star anise brands around. But we have made the work easier for you. We have listed a few best star anise products below. They have better quality, taste, and aroma.
- Soeos Star Anise Seeds (Anis Estrella), Whole Chinese Star Anise Pods, Dried Anise Star Spice, 4 oz.
- The Spice Way Star Anise – whole ( 3 oz ) great for baking and tea
- Soeos Organic Star Anise Seeds (4oz), USDA ORGANIC, NON-GMO Verified, Whole Chinese Star Anise Pods, Dried Anise Star Spice. (Organic).
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