star anise (Illicium verum)

  • Star anise is widely in Chinese cooking and is one of the five spices in Chinese five-spice powder.
  • It is also used in Indian Cuisine in garam masala
  • The spice comes from a small evergreen tree of the magnolia family. This tree is native to southwest China. It is now grown in India and throughout Asia.
  • There are a number of different varieties of Star Anise. The one typically grown in Japan is not the same as the Chinese variety.
  • The tree has star shaped fruits. These are harvested just before they are ripe. Then they are dried, ideally in the sun.
  • The spice has an strong aniseed flavour.
  • The oil from this spice is commercially extracted and used in the drinks industry.
  • Star anise is a common ingredient in medicinal teas, cough mixtures and pastilles.
  • This spice can be purchased as whole dried stars and then simply ground in the seed grinder when it is needed in recipes.

Links

  • Bird-Flu Fears Spur Sales of Star Anise Spice Brian Handwerk for National Geographic News November 28, 2005 A licorice-flavored spice that's long been a staple on Asian tables may now be a major weapon against global influenza.
  • http://news.nationalgeographic.com
  • Plants for a future. Edible, medicinal and useful plants. Database entry for Illicium verum
  • http://www.pfaf.org
  • Star Anise Spice: New Treatment for Bird Flu?
  • http://www.drugs.com
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