Star Anise

A brief history

Star anise is the eight-pointed, star-shaped fruit of a tree native to southern China and northern Vietnam, which has been one of the main spices in various Asian cuisines for several centuries.

The use of the spice

In India, star anise used in the preparation of some curries. In Chinese cuisine, it is used especially in flavoring meats, stuffing and the traditional Pho soup. When used in its whole form, the spice is commonly removed before serving the dish. It is essential to both in savory and sweet recipes. Star anise combines well with pepper, cloves, ginger, cinnamon or garlic. The essential oil of star anise is also used in perfume and cosmetics.

Prospective buyers

SEE: Visual examination of the star is very important and common-sensical. Beautiful, well-formed and complete stars with uniform color and strong fragrance are signs of quality. Do not purchase broken stars, and when buying powder, ensure that it is homogeneous, with very deep color and aroma.

SMELL: The strong smell of anise is characteristic, without this aroma, the star anise is not good.

TASTE: Dip a wet finger with a small amount of powdered anise seeds and place them in your mouth. Holding one's nose, inhale - a slight astringent woody note appears. Releasing, there is no real flavor. Performing the same test with the powder of the carpels (the rays of the star), should give a blend of spicy, sweet and woody notes. Once you release your nose a strong anise note instantly appears. In fact, all aroma compounds and characteristics of star anise are found in the carpels and not in the seed. The presence of earthy or other notes (salty or sweet) would be a sign of questionable quality.