Anise seed is native to the Middle East and the eastern Mediterranean and closely related to caraway, cumin, dill and fennel. It has a licorice-like sweet flavor and is widely used to flavor cakes, cookies, breads and fruit dishes.
In the Middle East, the seed is dry roasted until aromatic before using in fish and vegetable curries. Drinks like Ouzo, Arrack, Anisette and Pastis are flavored with anise.
Anise Q & A
What is the flavor of anise?
Anise has a wealth of flavors that is produced by anethole, an organic compound that is related to estragole, the compound responsible for the flavors in tarragon and basil. Its flavor has been described as having a licorice flavor that is sweet, mildly spicy, and very aromatic.
Is anise and star anise the same?
The fact that anise and star anise have the same flavor profile and name has always been a source of confusion. But while they may have similar flavors, they are not related in any way and are not the same thing. In fact, anise seed is harvested from the flowers of a small herb related to dill, cumin, fennel, and caraway. Meanwhile, star anise is harvested from pods found on a mid-sized evergreen tree.
What can I substitute for anise?
One of the best substitutes for anise is star anise. Both have similar flavor profiles, although star anise has a more intense flavor. To substitute star anise, use half the amount you would originally use in the recipe to balance out the flavor. You can also use fennel seeds as they also have flavors similar to anise.
How do you eat anise?
There are many ways to eat anise. Anise seeds can be added to dough and consumed as baked goods. They can be used to add more flavor to pie fillings as well as create an interesting taste in coffee or hot chocolate. For a much more interesting drink, try brewing the anise to create licorice-flavored tea.
Can you eat anise raw?
Yes, you can actually eat anise raw. Simply add pieces of its bulbous stalk to salads or vegetable trays to enjoy its licorice flavor and crunchy texture.
Is there another name for anise seed?
Another name for anise seed is sweet fennel due to their similarities in flavor. Although they have almost the same flavor, both fennel and anise do not share any ancestry and are two wildly different plants.
Can you substitute fennel for anise?
Fennel is known as a popular substitute for anise due to their similarities in flavor. Its flavor, while similar, is a bit toned down compared to anise so make sure you use more fennel to compensate for the lack of flavor.
What part of anise do you eat?
Anise seed is harvested from the flowering herb known as Pimpinella, which is native to the eastern Mediterranean region and Southwest Asia. It is not to be confused with star anise, which is harvested from pods on a medium-sized evergreen tree.
What goes well with anise?
Traditionally, anise has always been paired with goat cheese, seafood, and lamb as it beautifully complements the salty flavors with a hint of licorice. For fruit pairings, anise is best paired with citrus fruits, pineapple, mint, fig, coconuts, and melon. Some even prefer to add anise to their coffee for a boost in flavor. Lastly, one of the least known pairings is with carrots. The sweetness of the carrots proves to be a lovely combination with the flavors of anise.
Flavor of Anise Seeds
This seed is sweet and licoricey and pairs well with allspice, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pepper.
Uses of Anise Seeds
Flavor baked goods like cakes, breads, and cookies. Roast the seeds until aromatic before using in curries. Add to sweet fruit dishes.
Anise Seeds Recipe
For 2-3 T of mix: Blend 1 cinnamon stick and 1 bay leaf with 6 green cardamom pods, 2 t anise seeds, 1 t cracked ginger, 1/2 t cloves, and 1/4 t black peppercorns