Star anise is a wonderful spice named after the star shape of the anise pods. It contains a warm anise flavor that pairs well with cinnamon and clove. This post also covers star anise benefits to your health as well as ingredients to use as a star anise substitute.
Whole Star Anise
Star anise is a cool looking spice with an earthy, woody, anise flavor. It is one of the ingredients in Chinese 5 spice, and star anise is one of the main flavoring elements in Vietnamese pho. The earthy spice pairs with other woody spices like cinnamon and clove.
Star Anise Plant
The star anise plant is actually an evergreen tree with the name Illicium Verum. This mid-sized evergreen is native to Vietnam and southwest China (two countries whose cuisines feature star anise). Star anise pods are the fruit of this tree, which producers harvest before they ripen.
Star Anise Benefits
The anise pods contain natural antioxidants due to the presence of vitamin C and linalool. The antioxidants endow the spice with anti cancer properties.
Star anise extract also has anti fungal and anti bacterial properties. Star anise extract and oil may treat certain fungal and yeast infections. Compounds in star anise also act as antibiotic against many bacterial strains.
Star anise can combat the flu. Until recently, the vast majority of the global star anise crop was used to produce shikimic acid, which was used to make the influenza medication Tamiflu.
Star anise tea is used in South East Asian countries for a variety of digestive complaints including bloating, gas, indigestion, and cramps.
Additionally, chewing star anise can freshen the breath, as they do in India and Pakistan.
Star Anise Tea
Seeping the anise pods in boiling water yields a warm, comforting star anise tea that is great for cold weather. Add some honey for sweetness. As mentioned above, star anise tea is used to treat many digestive issues. It can also ease sore throat and coughs.
Star Anise Substitute
Star anise is difficult to substitute for, and more than one ingredient may be necessary to produce an adequate star anise substitute in a given recipe. To replace the anise flavor, use anise seeds and/or fennel seeds as a star anise replacement. To replace the warm, woody flavor, consider using cloves, allspice, or cinnamon as a star anise substitute. Use a combination of these ingredients to substitute for the multifaceted flavor profile of star anise depending on the particular situation.