Star Anise
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Leo Uhrich
Posted on: June 11, 2001

I’ve been looking for star anise and can’t seem to find it. What is the difference between this and other types of anise.

Star anise is the star-shaped "seed" of the star anise tree known botanically as Illicium anisatum or Illicium verum. The tree reaches 6-10 metres (20-35 ft.) in height. It is a native of Japan, Korea and China, and is grown in the American Southeast. The "seed" is actually a hardy, dry fruit composed of a cluster of follicles containing the true seeds. The flavour of the fruit is similar to that of the true anise.

True anise (Pimpinella anisum) is the seed, much smaller than star anise, of a herbaceous annual plant growing no more than 60 cm (2 ft.) high. Anise can be grown in gardens in most temperate zones whereas star anise is limited to warm zones.

True anise is used to flavour alcoholic drinks such as anisette and ouzo and is used in baking and candy. Star anise is used in the cuisine and medicine of the far east.

Dry star anise can be obtained from ethnic food markets in most American and Canadian cities.

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