Star Anise (ounce)
One of the most interesting looking spices, Star Anise, Illicium verum, is also called anise star, Chinese anise, and star aniseed. Star anise has an essential oil component of 2.5%-3.5% that is made up of mostly anethole. Star anise is a bit sweet with licorice undertones. It gives the mouth a warm feeling with a mild numbing effect. Like anise seed, Star Anise gets its distinctive licorice taste from the chemical compound anethol.
Star anise is extremely versatile. In the United States we often see it in baked goods, but it is also delicious in chilled desserts, sauces, soups, stews, and with red meats. It is best used as an accent flavor. A single arm can add layers of complex flavor and aroma to many dishes, making it a frequently used “secret ingredient.” In many recipes for Chinese chicken soup, you will find it is nearly identical to American chicken soup, except for the addition of star anise. This makes the flavor of the soup so much richer and more interesting. It’s a careful balance though - too much star anise can overpower a dish.
When stored properly, star anise can easily last for 2-3 years and the petals can be broken off when needed. They’re large enough that they can be picked out of the dish after it’s done cooking. Cooking rice with star anise is a good example of this, as the spice can be picked out and the flavor will remain.
This star anise is sourced from Vietnam.