Anise Seeds (Pimpinella)
- Anise seeds have a sweet aromatic flavor with a hint of licorice
- Commonly used in tea and baking
- Known for their antiseptic properties, used in cough syrup and sweets
What Are Anise Seeds?
Anise seeds, also known as Anisum Pimpinella, Sweet Caraway, Bread Seed, or Anais, are versatile seeds used both as a spice and a medicinal plant. They are commonly used in cough syrups, teas, and various culinary applications. In Germany, the aniseed plant was named the medicinal plant of the year in 2014. You can purchase whole anise seeds or ground anise from our spices shop.
Botany - Features of Anise
Anise, also known as sweet cumin, belongs to the umbel family (Apiaceae) along with dill, fennel, and cumin. It originated in the eastern Mediterranean and is an annual plant that can grow up to 60 cm in height. Anise has upright stems, heart-shaped leaves, and white flowers arranged in umbels. The anise seeds are fission fruits, round in shape with five ribs, measuring approximately 4-5 mm, and featuring a yellow-grey color.
Cultivation of Anise Seeds
Anise seeds are typically grown in large fields rather than small gardens. In Germany, they require well-prepared loamy and heavy soil. Anise prefers loose, nutritious, and chalky soils. It thrives in subtropical climates, which is why it is cultivated in regions such as South-South-Eastern Europe, North Africa, Southern Russia, India, and Egypt. To prevent crop losses, the anise plants are harvested before complete maturity and allowed to ripen in warehouses. This ensures optimal quality and prevents seeds from falling to the ground.
Anise Seeds and the Romans
Thanks to the Romans, anise seeds gained popularity as both a culinary spice and a natural remedy. Originally used in baking, anise cookies were consumed after meals to aid digestion.
Culinary Uses - Flavor and Application
Anise seeds have a sweet aromatic scent and a distinct licorice-like taste. They are commonly used in baking cookies and cakes, particularly during the pre-Christmas period. Anise is extensively used in Southern Europe, with Turkey using it for the production of Raki, France for Pernod, and Greece for Ouzo.
Anise seeds can be used in various dishes, including fish soups, sauces, bread, cakes, legumes, and pumpkins. They add flavor to dishes like red cabbage, beetroot, fruit salads, fish marinades, cucumbers, and teas. In India, anise is used for baking bread and in savory curries. Roasting anise seeds intensifies their aroma.
The antiseptic properties of anise oil make it a popular ingredient in cough syrups and cough drops. Anise seeds can be used alone or combined with other spices such as fennel, cardamom, black garlic, vanilla, cumin, poppy seeds, nutmeg, cloves, pepper, allspice, star anise, and cinnamon.