Where does the star anise come from?
Star anise has its origins in Southeast Asia (southern China and northern Vietnam). Its Chinese name is “ba jiao” and translates into English as “eight corners”. For this reason, the star anise was also called Badian. It has been known to us since the end of the sixteenth century. It was brought to Europe by Thomas Cavendish in 1588 from the Philippines.
What kind of plant is the star anise?
The plant of the star anise belongs to the family of the star anise family (in Latin Illiaceae), a far-known of the magnolia plants. The evergreen star anise tree is about 10-20 m tall and has a white bark. Its leaves are similar to the magnolia about 15 cm long and 5 cm wide. It has white, yellow to pink flowers with a size of 1 cm. From the flowers arise eight bellow capsules that burst in a star shape when ripe.
How is the star anise grown?
The star anise grows at an altitude of 2000 m in the mountains of China, North Vietnam and the Philippines. It grows in a tropical to subtropical climate. The plants are cultivated on plantations and cultivated. The star anise tree can live up to 100 years and from the seventh year it bears fruit. Per tree about 10 kg of star anise per year are harvested. The harvest is done manually. The immature star anise fruits are picked and dried under the sun.
What does star anise taste like?
Star anise smells of anise and has a spicy to sweetish taste. This is reminiscent of liquorice. It also has a distinct sharpness and a fresh and pleasant aftertaste.
How do I use star anise?
Star anise contains an essential oil, which unfolds during cooking. You can cook whole fruits or grind it in a coffee grinder before use. As a rule, 1-2 star aniseed fruits for 4 servings are sufficient.
The star anise is a typical spice of Chinese cuisine and also part of the famous five spices blend. This is used in combination with rice wine for marinating meat. Star anise is used for seasoning Chinese poultry and pork dishes, as well as for baked pork ribs. It refines fish and seafood, but also fruit syrup, or fruits like figs and pears. For canning, you can use whole fruits. Ground is mostly used for cooking.
- Soups and broths
- Marinades for chicken, duck, pork in conjunction with soy sauce
- Pastis, Anisette
- Chewing gum
- Fish and seafood
- Root vegetables, pumpkin, leeks
- Sweet and sour plums
- Plum jam
- As cough tea
- As a cough syrup
Which spices suit the star anise?
Star anise is compatible with fennel, chili, coriander, lime zest, Szechuan pepper, lemongrass, pepper, cinnamon, cloves and ginger. It goes well with the salty, spicy taste of soy sauce.
Extra tip: Star anise raises the sweet aroma of pumpkin, carrots and leeks. Try it.