- How To Grow Anise – Learn More About The Anise Plant
- What is Anise Plant?
- Growing Anise
- How to Plant Anise
- Anise Uses
- Get to Know Anise
- How to Grow Anise
- Troubleshooting Anise
- How to Harvest Anise
- Anise in the Kitchen
- Preserving and Storing Anise
- Propagating Anise
- Herb to Know: Anise
- General use
- Side effects
- Star Anise Vs. Anise Seed: SPICEography Showdown
- How do star anise and anise seed differ?
- Can you use one in place of the other?
- What are the best ways to use star anise? Anise seed?
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How To Grow Anise – Learn More About The Anise Plant
One of the strongest flavors available in nature is anise. Anise plant (Pimpinella anisum) is a Southern European and Mediterranean herb with a flavor reminiscent of licorice. The plant is attractive with lacy leaves and a profusion of white flowers and grows as a bushy ornamental herb. Growing anise in the herb garden provides a ready source of the seed for curries, baking and flavoring liqueurs.
What is Anise Plant?
Anise flowers are born in umbels like Queen Anne’s Lace. The seeds are the useful part of the plant and resemble caraway or carrot seeds. It’s easy to grow anise and the feathery leaves are borne on slightly purple stems. The plant, which grows just under 2 feet tall, requires a warm growing season of at least 120 days.
Anise is widely cultivated in many European and Asian countries but has not been an important crop in the United States. Due to its delightful appearance and fragrance, there are now many gardeners who grow anise.
Anise requires a fairly alkaline soil pH of 6.3 to 7.0. Anise plants need full sun and well-drained soil. Directly sow the seed into a prepared seed bed that is free of weeds, roots and other debris. Growing anise needs regular water until the plants are established and then can tolerate periods of drought.
Anise plant may be harvested in August to September when the flowers go to seed. Save the seed heads in a paper bag until they dry enough for the seed to fall out of the old flowers. Keep the seeds in a cool dark location until spring sowing.
How to Plant Anise
Growing anise is an easy gardening project and can provide seed for a multitude of uses.
Anise seeds are small and are easier to sow with a seed syringe for indoor planting or mixed in sand for outside planting. Temperature of the soil is an important consideration for how to plant anise. Soil should be workable and 60 F./15 C. for best germination. Space the seeds in rows 2 to 3 feet apart at a rate of 12 seeds per foot. Plant the seed ½ inch deep in well cultivated soils.
Water the plants after emergence twice a week until they are 6 to 8 inches high and then gradually reduce irrigation. Apply a nitrogen fertilizer prior to flowering in June to July.
Anise is an herb with culinary and medicinal properties. It is a digestive aid and to help respiratory illness. Its numerous uses in food and beverage span a wide range of international cuisines. The eastern European communities have used it widely in liqueurs such as Anisette.
The seeds, once crushed, yield an aromatic oil that is used in soaps, perfume and potpourris. Dry the seeds for future use in cooking and store them in a glass container with a tightly sealed lid. The many uses of the herb provide an excellent incentive to grow anise plant.
Anise is a small herb with lacy leaves. It’s a member of the parsley family. Its leaves and seed have a sweet, licorice-like flavor. Both leaves and seeds can be used to flavor soups, salads, and sausage. They are used in bread, cookies, and candy.
Get to Know Anise
- Botanical name and family: Pimpinella anisum (Apiaceae—carrot family)
- Type of plant: Anise is a warm-season annual herb.
- Growing season: Spring and summer
- Growing zones: Anise grows best in Zones 4 to 11.
- Hardiness: Anise is frost tender; time the planting of anise so freezing weather is past when seeds germinate.
- Plant form and size: Anise is a low spreading bright green bushy plant that grows 18 to 24 inches tall and almost as wide. It resembles Queen Anne’s lace or wild carrots. The first growth is a clump of leaves with rounded foliage followed by stalks with heart-shaped leaflets. Later elongated flowering stems bear narrow, feathery leaves.
- Flowers: Anise has small white to yellowish-white flowers in lacy umbrella-shaped clusters atop feathery 24-inch stems. Flowers appear about 4 months after planting.
- Bloom time: Anise flowers from early summer to midsummer.
- Leaves: The lower leaves are broad and lobed with toothed edges; the upper leaves are feathery, elongated and divided into three sections.
- Seeds: Gray-green, oval seeds ripen in summer.
- Best location: Grow anise in full sun. Plant anise in a sheltered location out of the wind.
- Soil preparation: Anise grows best in well-drained soil rich in organic matter; however, anise will grow in poor soil. Anise prefers a soil pH of 6.0 to 6.7. Anise tolerates dry conditions but will not tolerate very wet soil.
- Seed starting indoors: Start anise from seed indoors in late winter about 8 weeks before transplanting seedlings outdoors. Sow seed in biodegradable pots that can be set out in the garden after the last frost in spring. Keep seeds at 70°F for optimal germination. Anise forms a tap root which does not like transplanting or moving.
- Transplanting to the garden: Because anise has a tap root it does not transplant well after the roots become established. Set seedlings in the garden in spring as soon as the soil can be worked; protect young plants with floating row covers or a plastic tunnel until after the last frost.
- Outdoor planting time: Sow anise in the garden as early as two weeks before the average last frost date in spring. Anise requires a long, frost-free growing season of about 120 days.
- Planting depth: Sow anise seeds ¼ inch; seed germinates in about 20 days.
- Spacing: Space plants 6 to 18 inches apart. When seedlings are 6 weeks old thin plants to 18 inches apart or more.
- How much to plant: Grow 6 anise plants for fresh leaves and cooking; grow 12 plants for seeds and preserving.
- Companion planting: Anise is said to encourage cilantro to germinate. The strong smell of anise is said to repel aphids and fleas. Avoid planting anise with carrots and radishes. Grow creeping thyme at the foot of anise.
How to Grow Anise
- Watering: Water anise when the ground starts to dry out. Do not overwater anise.
- Feeding: Side dress plants with aged compost or organic all-purpose fertilizer at midseason.
- Mulching: Keep planting beds free of weeds. Weeds compete for soil moisture and nutrients.
- Care: Anise stems are weak. Stake plants that become leggy; also stake plants in windy gardens.
- Container growing: Anise grows easily in containers. Select a container at least 8 inches deep and wide.
- Winter growing: Anise can be grown indoors in winter. Place plants in a bright window or under fluorescent lights.
- Pests: Anise has no serious pest problems. Anise oil is said to repel insects.
- Diseases: Anise has no serious disease problems.
How to Harvest Anise
- When to harvest: Snip anise leaves for fresh use as needed. Seeds require more than 100 frost-free days to reach harvest. Harvest seeds from late summer to early autumn starting about two to three weeks after flowering when seeds have turned brown and fall easily from the head.
- How to harvest leaves: Snip leaves for fresh use. Leaves can be dried on a screen in a cool, dry, dark, airy place.
- How to harvest seeds: Cut the flower stems and seed heads and hang the stalks upside down in a warm, dry, shady place. Place a paper bag around the seed heads so seeds fall into the bag. Thresh seeds when dry or pasteurize them in an oven at 100°F for 15 minutes. Complete the harvest before the first frost in fall.
Anise in the Kitchen
- Flavor and aroma: Anise leaves and seeds have a rich licorice flavor.
- Leaves: Add chopped fresh leaves to salads and fruits or used as a garnish. Use whole, ground, or crushed leaves in baked goods, apple dishes, pickles curries, eggs, or soups.
- Seeds: Anise seeds add flavor to sweet rolls and gourmet bread; crushed seeds enhance the flavor of desserts and fresh fruit salads. Seeds intensify the sweetness in pastries, cakes, and cookies
- Culinary complements: Anise is complemented by cinnamon and bay.
Preserving and Storing Anise
- Drying: Dry anise seeds on trays of paper for several warm days outdoors. After drying, pasteurize seeds in the oven at 100°F for 15 minutes.
- Storing: Store leaves and seeds in an airtight container.
- Seed: Anise is grown from seed. Save some seed for sowing the following spring.
Also of interest:
How to Grow Mint
How to Grow Thyme
How to Grow Oregano
How to Grow Parsley
How to Start a Herb Garden
Growing Herbs for Cooking
Herb to Know: Anise
The seed wasteth and consumeth winde, and is good against belchings and upbraidings of the stomacke, allayeth gripings of the belly, provoketh urine gently, maketh aboundance of milke, and stirreth up bodily lust: it stayeth the laske, and also the white flux in women. . . . It taketh away the Squinancie or Quincie (that is, a swelling in the throat) being gargled with honey, vinegar, and a little Hyssop gently boiled together.
He noted that it also sweetens the breath and “helpeth the yeoxing or hicket , both when it is drunken or eaten dry.”
Its effectiveness in relieving gastric distress has been confirmed by modern science, and for this purpose it is best to make a strong tea from the seeds. The seed oil (whose main constituent, anethole, contributes anise’s flavor) is antimicrobial and a mild expectorant, but its use in small quantities in cough medicines and the like is mainly for its taste.
Anise leaves were once applied to the skin as a freckle remover, and a face pack made from the ground seeds was said at least to fade them. Seeds have been used in a wash to get rid of lice.
The seed oil has been used to poison pigeons and the seeds used to bait mousetraps. The oil has been used to scent the sack followed by foxhounds in drag hunting and the artificial hare used in greyhound racing. It has also been used to track honeybees to their hive.
The cuisines of many cultures, from northern Europe, Morocco, and the Near East to North and South America, have made anise their own. The fresh leaves are delicious in salads or cooked in stews and sauces. They may be dried for tea. The seeds, also flavorful in tea, enhance baked goods, eggs, cheese, and stewed fruit; they are especially good with figs and chestnuts. The Romans made a spiced cake containing aniseed which served both as dessert and a digestive aid. A mug of hot milk in which the seeds have been steeped is tasty and is said to promote sleep. Cinnamon, bay, and aniseed are a winning combination for flavoring meat dishes. The oil flavors candy, gum, ice cream, and pickles. Liqueurs containing anise include anisette, Pernod, Sambuco, pastis, ojen, tres castillos, raki, aguardiente, and ouzo.
As in H.M.S. Pinafore, “things are seldom what they seem.” Today, anise oil, not licorice, flavors most commercial licorice candy in the United States. However, because it takes 50 pounds of aniseed to produce 1 pound of oil, the anise oil of commerce may not have been obtained from aniseed at all. It’s more likely to have come from the much larger fruits of the star anise (Illicium anisatum), a small Asian evergreen tree of the magnolia family. The essential oil of star anise is virtually identical to that of anise.
Length of the growing season is usually the limiting factor in growing anise: though the plants will grow in Zones 3 to 10, they need 120 frost-free days to produce ripe seed.
Anise will grow in poor, dry soil, but a light application of well-rotted manure is appreciated. Optimum soil pH is 6.0. Use fresh seed. You can get a head start on the season by starting seeds indoors eight to ten weeks before the last frost, but seedlings may not transplant well because of their long taproots. Use peat pots or otherwise minimize transplanting shock.
To sow seeds directly into the garden, choose a spot in full sun and out of the wind. Plant a few seeds in a group, or greater numbers thinly in rows 21/2 to 3 feet apart; cover with 1/4 to 1/2 inch of soil. The seed may take as long as 28 days to germinate. Though seeds germinate best in cool ground, the seedlings need plenty of sun and warmth to grow to maturity.
Gardeners disagree on how far apart the plants should stand, advising distances from 4 inches to 11/2 feet. The plants tend to be spindly, and those who advocate close spacing believe that the weak stems will support each other. If you’re growing just a few plants in a bed of other herbs, you might allow each one about 1 square foot of space. Mounding soil around the base of the stems offers some support, and staking the plants is a surer way of keeping them from flopping. Keep the soil well watered and weed-free.
A longer growing season doesn’t necessarily ensure success with anise. In the deep South, the combination of heat and humidity take their toll. Texas herb growers Madalene Hill and Gwen Barclay suggest sowing the seeds in fall in light, fairly rich, well-drained soil; plants live through winter and flower when warm weather arrives in spring.
If growing anise is difficult where you live, you might consider planting anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum), a problem-free member of the mint family whose anise-scented leaves and flowers can be used fresh or dried in teas and fresh in salads and cookies.
It is possible to sow a few seeds of anise in a pot in late summer to grow indoors during the winter, but you’ll need a deep pot to accommodate the long taproots and some way of supporting the sprawling stems. Snippets of the fresh herb can add some life to a winter salad.
Harvest the seed heads when the seeds are gray-green and the stems are yellow. Leave some of the stalk attached so that you can hang them to dry. First, however, rinse the seed heads in hot water to rid them of insects, drain them on a towel, and let them dry. Hang bunches of stalks in a dark, well-ventilated area indoors either over clean paper or in a paper bag to catch any seeds that may fall off. When the seed heads are crisp, in four or five days, rub them between your hands to separate the seeds from the stems. You may wish to put the seeds through a sieve or pour them from one container to another to clean them further. Store the cleaned seeds in an airtight container away from heat.
Anise plants sprawl too much to be considered ornamental. Two attractive and very ornamental European relatives, both perennial species of Pimpinella, are greater burnet saxifrage (P. major), with white or pink flowers, which grows well in moist soil and semishade, and burnet saxifrage (P. saxifraga), which has white flowers and grows best in dry alkaline soil. Burnet saxifrage also has been used medicinally.
Seeds of anise are readily available at garden centers and by mail order.
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Anise is a member of the family of plants that includes carrots, caraway, cumin, dill, fennel, and cilantro. It has a strong licorice-like flavor and scent, and the essential oil is used to flavor licorice candy. Foods with licorice flavoring often contain anise and not any licorice at all.
The whole dried “fruit” or seed.
Whole or ground fruits, although flavor is better if the fruits are stored whole and then ground just before use. Anise is used in French carrot dishes, East Indian curries, Hispanic stews, and Scandinavian breads. It balances the flavors of bay leaf and cinnamon. Anise is also used to flavor liqueurs such as ouzo, anisette, pastis, Pernod, Ricard, anesone, ojen, aguardiente, arrak, kabib, and raki.
The process of heating anise in baked goods releases compounds that act as very mild stimulants. The anethole released in grinding and baking slows the decay of the baked goods that otherwise might result from fungi or molds. Anise is also used to flavor many herbal remedies.
Anise, Pimpinella anisum, is a slow-growing annual herb of the parsley family (Apiaceae, formerly Umbelliferae). It is related to other plants prized for their aromatic fruits, commonly called seeds, such as dill, cumin, caraway, and fennel . It is cultivated chiefly for its licorice-flavored fruits, called aniseed. Although it has a licorice flavor, anise is not related to the European plant whose roots are the source of true licorice. It has been used as a medicinal and fragrant plant since ancient times.
The plant reaches from 1–3 ft (0.3–1 m) in height when cultivated, and has finely divided feather-like bright green leaflets. The name Pimpinella (from the Latin dipinella ) refers to the pinnately divided form of the leaves. The plant bears white to yellowish-white flowers in compound umbels (umbrella-like clusters). When ripe, the fruits are 0.125 in (3 mm) long and oval-shaped with grayish-green coloring.
While the entire plant is fragrant and tastes strongly of anise, it is the aniseed fruit that has been highly valued since antiquity. Seed maturation usually occurs one month after pollination, when the oil content in the dried fruit is about 2.5%. Steam distillation of the crushed aniseed yields from 2.5 to 3.5% of a fragrant, syrupy, essential, or volatile, oil, of which anethole, present at about 90%, is the principal aromatic constituent. Other chemical constituents of the fruit are creosol, alpha-pinene, dianethole, and photoanethole.
In addition to its medicinal properties, anise is widely used for flavoring curries, breads, soups, cakes, candies, desserts, nonalcoholic beverages, and liqueurs such as anisette. The essential oil is valuable in perfumes and soaps and has been used in toothpastes, mouthwashes, and skin creams.
Anise is endemic to the Middle East and Mediterranean regions, including Egypt, Greece, Crete, and Turkey. It was cultivated and used by ancient Egyptians, and used in ancient Greece and Rome, when it was cultivated in Tuscany. Its use and cultivation spread to central Europe in the Middle Ages, and today it is cultivated on a commercial scale in warm areas such as southern Europe, Asia, India, North Africa, Mexico, and Central and South America.
The medicinal properties of anise come from the chemicals that are present in the fruits. The anethole in anise helps to relieve gas and settle an upset stomach. The use of anise to season foods, especially meat and vegetable dishes, in many parts of the world may have originated as a digestive aid. The Romans ate aniseed cake at the end of rich meals to prevent indigestion . The chemicals creosol and alpha-pinene act as expectorants, loosening mucus and making it easier to cough up. The estrogenic action of anise is from the chemicals dianethole and photoanethole, which act in a way similar to estrogen. The anise fruits and the essential oil of anise contain these chemicals and can be used medicinally. Aniseed can also be used to make an herbal tea which can help relieve physical complaints.
As a medicinal plant, anise has been used as an antibacterial, an antimicrobial, an antiseptic, an antispasmodic, a breath freshener, a carminative, a diaphoretic, a digestive aid, a diuretic, an expectorant, a mild estrogenic, a mild muscle relaxant, a parasiticide, a stimulant, and a stomachic.
Anise may be helpful in the following conditions:
- Anemia . Anise promotes digestion, which may help improve anemia due to inefficient absorption of iron.
- Asthma . Essential oil of anise may be inhaled through the nose to help ease breathing and relieve nasal congestion.
- Bad breath. It can be used in mouthwash or tea to sweeten breath.
- Bronchitis . Aniseed may be used as an expectorant and essential oil of anise may be inhaled through the nose to help ease breathing.
- Catarrh. Drinking aniseed tea soothes mucous membranes.
- Cold. Aniseed can be used as an expectorant and drinking aniseed tea soothes the throat.
- Colic . Drinking anise tea or using essential oil can alleviate gas.
- Cough. Can be used as an expectorant, especially for hard, dry coughs where expectoration is difficult.
- Croup. Aniseed can be used to alleviate a persistent cough in a child.
- Emphysema. Essential oil of anise may be inhaled through the nose to help ease breathing and relieve nasal congestion and tea with aniseed will soothe mucous membranes.
- Gas and gas pains. Drinking aniseed tea helps relieve gas, gas pains, and flatulence.
- Menopause. Aniseed tea can help alleviate menopausal symptoms.
- Morning sickness . Tea made from anise can help alleviate morning sickness during pregnancy.
- Nursing. Aniseed tea can help a nursing mother’s milk come in.
- Sore throat. Drinking aniseed tea alleviates pain of sore throat.
Aniseeds. May be added to foods when cooking to flavor and aid digestion, or may be taken whole in doses of 1-3 tsp of dried anise seeds per day.
Tea. One tsp of crushed aniseeds can be steeped in a cup of hot water, then combined with fennel and caraway to help relieve gas and gas pains. To help relieve a cough, coltsfoot, marsh mallow, hyssop , and licorice can be added to the tea. Infants should only receive 1 tsp of boiled, prepared tea.
Essential oil. Preparations of essential oil of anise can be used for inhalation. The essential oil may be taken orally at a dose of 0.01 oz (0.3 g) per day. In addition, the liqueur anisette, which contains anise essential oil, may be administered in hot water to help relieve problems in the bronchial tubes, such as bronchitis and spasmodic asthma. One to three drops of essential oil administered on sugar may help relieve colic.
Persons allergic to anise or anethole, its main ingredient, should avoid using aniseed or its essential oil. It is also possible to develop an allergic sensitivity to anise. Care should be taken to monitor the quantity of aniseed oil given to infants. A 2002 report noted an infant brought to the emergency department with seizures as a result of multiple doses of aniseed oil tea.
Although anise is generally considered safe, the side effects of its estrogenic property have not been fully studied. Anise oil may induce nausea, vomiting , seizures, and pulmonary edema if it is ingested in sufficient quantities. Also, contact of the skin with the concentrated oil can cause irritation.
It is important to note that Japanese Star Anise is not the same herb—it is poisonous.
No interactions have been reported.
Foster, Gertrude B. and Rosemary F. Louden. Park’s Success with Herbs. Greenwood, S. C.: G. W. Park Seed Co., 1980.
Grieve, M. A Modern Herbal: The Medicinal, Culinary, Cosmetic and Economic Properties, Cultivation and Folk-lore of Herbs, Grasses, Fungi, Shrubs, & Trees with All Their Modern Scientific Uses. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1931.
Reader’s Digest Editors. Magic and Medicine of Plants. Pleasantville, N.Y.: Reader’s Digest Association, 1986.
Simon, James E., Alena F. Chadwick and Lyle E. Craker. Herbs: An Indexed Bibliography, 1971-1980: The Scientific Literature on Selected Herbs, and Aromatic and Medicinal Plants of the Temperate Zone. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, 1984.
Tuckler, V., et al. “Seizure in an Infant from Aniseed Oil Toxicity.” Clinical Toxicology (August 2002): 689.
Herb Society of America. http://www.herbsociety.org/anise.htm/ (July 12, 2000).
One Planet. http://www.oneplanetnatural.com/anise.htm/ (July 12, 2000).
“Pimpinella anisum.” http://webmd.lycos.com/content/article/1677.57580/ (July 12, 2000).
Melissa C. Mcdade
Teresa G. Odle
Star Anise Vs. Anise Seed: SPICEography Showdown
Star anise and anise seed are two spices that not only sound similar, they have similar flavors. Their flavors are enough alike that some cooks consider interchangeable. Both spices are versatile enough to stay in the background as they do in some spice blends and savory dishes or to play the starring role as they do in liqueurs. If you are trying to decide between them, there are some important factors to consider. While they have a lot in common, there are some key differences. What are those differences? How do you use them? We will consider these questions as we compare them in another SPICEography Showdown – star anise vs. anise seed.
How do star anise and anise seed differ?
Despite the similar names, anise (also known as aniseed and anise) are two different plants. They both come from different parts of the world with anise being Mediterranean or Egyptian in origin and star anise being from China. Both have a similar licorice taste because they both contain anethole, an essential oil that is responsible that is a major contributor to their respective flavors. In addition to the licorice flavor, star anise offers a mild bitterness and an herbaceous quality that helps to differentiate its flavor from that of anise seed.
The spices consist of seeds that are very different in appearance with the anise seed being a small schizocarp about 1/8 to 1/4-inch-long and the seed of the star anise being contained in a star-shaped pericarp that usually about an inch in diameter. The plants from which each of these spices come are also different in appearance since star anise comes from an evergreen tree that can grow up to about 30 feet tall; anise seed comes from a bush that is typically under 3 feet tall. The anise bush can be used as an herb.
Can you use one in place of the other?
Since both spices impart a similar licorice flavor, you can usually get away with using one in place of the other. That said, such a substitution is not always ideal for every dish. Star anise will have to be ground before you can use it as an anise substitute, which can be time-consuming if you do not have a spice or coffee grinder. In addition, star anise is generally used whole with the pericarp removed and discarded before the dish is served. Anise seeds are much smaller and may be difficult to remove from a dish. In dishes that require star anise to be fried before being taken out and discarded, it may not be possible to use an anise seed substitute in the same way since both whole and ground seeds may be more likely to burn.
What are the best ways to use star anise? Anise seed?
In Chinese cooking, star anise is used whole or ground. It is arguably the most important ingredient in the most famous Chinese spice blend: five spice powder. Similarly, it is one of the stronger flavors in the garam masala blends that you are most likely to find in the US. Star anise also shows up in the pho, the popular Vietnamese soup and you can use it in many sweet applications including apple and pumpkin pies.
Anise seed primarily used for sweet applications and breads including Italian biscotti. Ouzo, sambuca and anisette are just some of the liqueurs flavored with it. Its savory applications range from Italian sausage to pasta sauce.
Scientific Name: Pimpinella anisum
Common Names: Aniseed, Anise
Aniseed is an annual herb that can grow up to a metre tall in ideal conditions. Aniseed is native to the Eastern Mediterranean as well as Southwest Asia. Aniseed plants were first cultivated in parts of the Middle East and Egypt, where it was used both as a culinary and embalming spice.
Anise seeds have a strong, medicinal flavour. The compounds responsible for this flavour is found in many other plant species including licorice root and fennel and anise seeds have a similar flavour to these. Anise seeds can be used whole or ground to make a licorice flavoured tea, or used ground to flavour cakes, biscuits and sweets. The young leaves of Aniseed plants are edible raw or cooked and have a refreshing sweet licorice flavour. If cooking with Aniseed leaves add them only at the last minute or their flavour will be lost.
Anise seeds are used in traditional herbal medicine to reduce flatulence and calm diarrhea.
Aniseed will grow best in a location that receives plenty of sunlight, but it will tolerate light shade for part of the day. Requires a free draining soil, grow Aniseed in raised beds if your soil is too compacted or heavy with clay. Aniseed grows well in a rich sandy loam soil, dig lots of organic matter including well-rotted manures, compost or worm castings through your garden beds to help improve your soil structure, encourage worms and beneficial soil microorganisms, and provide nutrients for your plants. Fertilise Aniseed plants every few weeks with a complete organic liquid fertiliser, worm juice or compost tea for best growth. Mulch around your Aniseed plants with sugar cane mulch to suppress weeds, retain moisture and keep their root systems cool. Aniseed grows best in soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH between 6.2 and 7.3.
Aniseed grows particularly well around Coriander plants, and Coriander plants also seem to grow better when planted near Aniseed. Aniseed grown near basil is said to increase the essential oil content of the leaves resulting in a more flavoursome basil. The scent of Aniseed is also thought to repel aphids, planting it near susceptible plants may be of benefit. Aniseed flowers attract and provide a nectar source for the adult stage of various caterpillar-parasitic wasps.
When To Sow
In cold and mountainous regions of Australia sow Aniseed from October to December. In temperate regions of Australia sow Aniseed from September to January. In subtropical regions of Australia sow Aniseed from September to February. In tropical regions of Australia plant Aniseed during the early dry season from March to May.
How To Sow
Sow Anise seeds 6mm deep spacing plantings about 25cm apart. Anise seedlings won’t grow well if their long tap root is damaged during transplanting, because of this it’s best to sow Anise seeds directly where they are to grow.
Time To Germination
Aniseed can be slow to germinate, however most seedlings will emerge within 10 to 21 days after sowing the seeds.
Time To Harvest
Aniseed requires a long growing season to produce seeds ready for harvest, 17 to 18 weeks on average.
How to grow Aniseed
Aniseeds in bloom
Did you know?
Ancient Romans used to hang Anise plants near their pillows to prevent bad dreams. They also used it to aid digestion and ward off epileptic attacks.
King Edward IV was said to have slept on bed linens that had been perfumed with anise.
Ancient Roman wedding ceremonies often concluded with the breaking of a cake of wheat or barley containing anise over the bride’s head as a symbol of good fortune.
S.K. Maiti, patron of Bidhannagar Horticultural Society and a civil engineer residing in FC Block, offers guidance on choosing herbs to suit Salt Lake’s soil and climate
A full course meal at your favourite restaurant does not feel complete till you round it off by chewing some Mouri. Anise, Anised or Mouri is a herbaceous seed spice that works not just as a mouth freshner but also as a digestive that breaks down your rich dinner.
Botanically known as the Pimpinella anisum, the Anise is native to the Mediterranean region. It was cultivated by the ancient Egyptians who valued its medicinal properties and culinary uses. It was known to the ancient Greeks and Romans too. It was said that the Romans used to flavour their wedding cakes with anise. Today the Anise is cultivated in various parts of the world.
The plant hasn’t always been popular in the Indian subcontinent as it has limited use in Indian cuisine. But its cultivation is cost-effective and has a demand as an industrial chemical constituent. It also has export potential and is gradually becoming a popular herb for kitchen gardens. The Anise is a hardy crop and has wide climate adaptability. In fact there are no major challenges and constraints growing the herb successfully.
The plant is a feathery-looking annual which reaches up to a height of 60cm. It has rounded mid-green leaves with distinctly toothed edges. The white flowers appear during late spring and summer and are then followed by the small flavoured seeds – called Aniseeds. The seeds are grey to greyish brown in colour, oval in shape and three to 4mm in length. It has an agreeable odour and pleasant taste.
The Anise is very attractive to bees and butterflies and will draw them to your garden.
Climate and soil:- Being an annual, the anise can be grown in all areas, but in tropics it is best raised during the cool, drier months. Ample sunlight is essential for growing Anise, but the site must be protected from strong winds. Otherwise there is a chance that winds may flatten this light, airy herb.
Anise can be grown in all kinds of well-drained soil. But light, sandy loam, soil enriched with rotted organic matter is ideal.
Sowing:- Anise seeds may be sown from the last week of October to the first week of November. Sow seeds where they can grow about 1cm deep and 10cm apart.
Irrigation:- Anise needs moisture around its roots at all times and must never be allowed to dry out. Generally three to four irrigations per season are sufficient. To avoid flattening the stems, water the soil rather than the leaves. In case Anise is grown as a border plant around potatoes, no surface irrigation would be required.
Harvesting and storing:- It takes about four months for its seeds to ripen. When fully ripe remove the seed heads and place them on paper or in a container in the sun to dry out.
When the seeds are dried, rub them to separate from the husks and store them in air-tight jars.
Uses:- The seeds are used to flavour curries, sweets, cakes, cookies and biscuits. Fresh leaves of the Anise may be used in salads, stews and soups.
It is a good tonic for the digestive system and regular intake of Aniseed is said to help prevent cold and to banish bad breath and hence is used to flavour dental preparations and mouthwashes. Tea prepared from Aniseed helps treat insomnia too.
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Anise Plant Stock Photos
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Star, ed, star, aroma, aromatherapy, aromatic, asia, background, badian, beauty, brown, chinese, closeup, condiment, cook, cooking, decoration, dessert Anise. Star, ed, star, aroma, aromatherapy, aromatic, asia, background, badian, beauty, brown, chinese, closeup, condiment, cook, cooking, decoration, dessert Anise, also called aniseed or Pimpinella anisum. Isolated on white background. Anise, also called aniseed or Pimpinella anisum with dried plant. Isolated on Star anise. dried seeds of the plant Pimpinella anisum L. Star anise. Seeds of herbaceous annual plant of the family Umbelliferae Star anise. dried seeds of the plant Pimpinella anisum L. Star anise. Seeds of herbaceous annual plant of the family Umbelliferae White wildflowers of Anise Pimpinella anisum. White wildflowers of Anise Pimpinella anisum, also called aniseed, is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae Star anise. dried seeds of the plant Pimpinella anisum L. Star anise. Seeds of herbaceous annual plant of the family Umbelliferae White wildflowers of Anise Pimpinella anisum. White wildflowers of Anise Pimpinella anisum, also called aniseed, is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae White wildflowers of Anise Pimpinella anisum. White wildflowers of Anise Pimpinella anisum, also called aniseed, is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae White wildflowers of Anise Pimpinella anisum. White wildflowers of Anise Pimpinella anisum, also called aniseed, is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae White wildflowers of Anise Pimpinella anisum. White wildflowers of Anise Pimpinella anisum, also called aniseed, is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae Wild anise. A wild anise plant on a mountain Anise flower. Flower of a wild anise plant in a field Anise Hyssop Agastache foeniculum Purple Flower. Plant Anise star on white background. Anise star (Illicium verum) on white background. Also called Star aniseed, or Chinese star anise. 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Herbs and spices can be one of the secret ingredients that will make you a better cook, but they can also be pretty confusing. Every once in a while, you come across a spice that makes you question your entire culinary knowledge base. Like anise: What exactly is it, and can you substitute star anise or fennel if you don’t have any on hand? Find out!
What is Anise?
Anise (also called aniseed or sweet cumin) is the seed of the Pimpinella anisum plant. It belongs to the Apiaceae family, which also produces carrots, celery and parsley. While the plant’s leaves and roots are also edible, it’s most well-known for its small, brown seeds. They look very similar to fennel seeds, although they are significantly smaller.
The seeds can be used whole, or they can be ground into a powder. They have a sweet, fragrant aroma with a strong, licorice-like taste. It’s that strong flavor that makes anise a love-it-or-hate-it kind of spice. If you’ve ever tasted alcoholic beverages that contain ouzo, sambuca or pastis, you know what I mean! That flavor makes it very versatile, though, as it can be used in savory applications like baking breads or making savory Italian sausage, as well as for baking sweet cookies and cakes.
Are Anise and Fennel the Same Thing?
Anise is commonly confused with two very distinct ingredients: star anise and fennel. The first confusion comes from the similarity in name. Although star anise and aniseed share a common word, they couldn’t be more different. Star anise (Illicium verum) is the fruit of a small evergreen tree in the magnolia family. It’s most often used in Chinese five-spice and while it also has a licorice-like flavor, it’s intense and pungent when compared to aniseed.
Fennel, on the other hand, is often confused with anise because they have similar looking seeds. Like anise, fennel is also from the Apiaceae family, making it related to carrots, dill and anise. Fennel grows into an edible vegetable, and its fronds look almost exactly like dill. The seeds have a sweet, licorice flavor that’s more robust than anise. It’s also a popular component in sausage making, and it’s an integral ingredient in Chinese five-spice blends and chai teas.
How to Bake with Anise
Have some fun with anise’s licorice flavor by making our favorite icebox cookies. If you really want to let the flavor shine, lightly toast the whole aniseed before adding them to the cookie mix. Or, play around with ground anise with this biscotti recipe. If you have anise extract in the pantry, you can also try your hand at making homemade candy.
The Anise Recipes You Have to Try 1 / 25
Semisweet and white chocolate drizzles give this biscotti a pretty look. You don’t bake it as long as some biscotti, so they’re a little softer.—Cheryl Ludemann, Boonville, New York Get Recipe
Gingerbread with Fig-Walnut Sauce
I experimented with aniseed this past holiday season and fell in love with the licorice flavor. It really enhances the gingerbread spices and fig sauce in this extraordinary cake. —Shelly Bevington-Fisher, Hermiston, Oregon Get Recipe
I discovered the wonderful anise flavor of biscochitos, which are traditional cookies of New Mexico. I created my own version with maraschino cherries and fresh cranberries. —Mary Shivers, Ada, Oklahoma Get Recipe
Before Christmas, my grandmother would bake peppernuts and store them until the big day. When we came home from school, the whole house would smell like anise and we knew the holiday season was about to begin. —Marilyn Kutzli, Clinton, Iowa Get Recipe
It’s tradition for my family to make these German treats together. The recipe came from my great-grandmother’s cookbook, and judging from the amount of requests I get, it has certainly stood the test of time. —Esther Kempker, Jefferson City, Missouri Get Recipe
Anise Icebox Cookies
These spiced cookies are one of my favorite anise recipes to cook up! They’re great around the holidays. —Sharon Nichols, Brookings, South Dakota Get Recipe
With their bright color and frosty sugared look, these homemade gumdrops are irresistible. They’re softer than the store-bought kind and have tongue-tingling anise flavor. —Richard Bunt, Painted Post, New York Get Recipe
We have many pecan trees in this part of the country, so I like to make recipes with the nuts. I usually make these cookies during the holidays. —Chandra Koehn, Rich Hill, Missouri Get Recipe
Fans of black licorice won’t be able to stop eating these gooey caramels. I appreciate their ease of preparation. —Donna Higbee, Riverton, Utah Get Recipe
Frosted Anise Sugar Cookies
These soft, cake-like cookies have a pleasant anise flavor that’s distinct but not overpowering. I add red and green sprinkles for Christmas, but you could decorate them to suit any occasion.—Janice Eanni, Willowick, Ohio Get Recipe
Wild Rice & Cranberry Loaves
This is an incredibly fragrant bread with lots of texture from wild rice and dried cranberries. It’s hearty enough for sandwiches, but with a touch of honey, I could even eat this for dessert! —Barbara Miller, Oakdale, Minnesota Get Recipe
German Christmas Cookies
This little spice cookie tastes very European and is similar to Pfeffernüsse or “peppernut.” We make ours with cozy spices, anise flavoring, almonds and candied citron. —Carole Mueller, Florissant, Missouri Get Recipe
Italian Honey Clusters
My mother made these treats flavored with cinnamon and anise for neighbors, teachers and anyone who stopped by. Make sure the honey doesn’t boil longer than a minute or it could burn.—Sarah Knoblock, Hyde Park, Indiana Get Recipe
Anise & Wine Cookies
My grandmother did not speak English very well, but she knew the language of great food. These wine cookies are crisp and best eaten after being dunked in even more wine.—Julia Meyers, Scottsdale, Arizona Get Recipe
You’ll love this rich, thick mole sauce with it’s authentic flavor. The result is well worth the prep. mdash; Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin Get Recipe
Bizcochitos, with their wonderful citrus and spice flavors, are special cookies we look forward to each year. It just isn’t Christmas Eve at our house if we don’t have these cookies with mugs of Mexican hot chocolate. Get Recipe
Plum Anise Jam
Growing up, my father loved black licorice and all my siblings and I loved it as well. I still love the flavor of black licorice but can’t eat the candy anymore for health reasons. This recipe reminds me of the flavor I loved as a child. The delicious jam tastes great with Brie or goat cheese and crackers. —Jill Grueninger, Mequon, Wisconsin Get Recipe
Our version of the classic German cookie is nice to have on hand throughout the holiday season. They stay fresh—and become more intense in flavor—when stored in an airtight container for weeks. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen Get Recipe
Sweet and Golden Easter Bread
It is an Italian tradition to make this sweet, golden braid at Easter. This family heirloom recipe came from my mother-in-law and was passed down to her from her mother. If you’re not a fan of raisins, the bread is just as wonderful without them. —Kathi West, Canton, Michigan Get Recipe
Any-Season Fruit Bowl
A refreshing fruit salad like this one is a welcome addition to a any meal. A hint of anise gives it festive flavor, and it looks gorgeous on a buffet table. —Frances Stevenson, McRae, Georgia Get Recipe
Frosted Anise Cookies
I love anise flavoring, and my nana loved sugar cookies, so I put them together. These have a soft, from-scratch texture. It’s hard to stop at just one! —Rachele Angeloni, North Providence, Rhode Island Get Recipe
My aunt would make anise recipes all the time for dessert and these biscotti were my favorite. I can remember walking into the house and I’d almost swoon when I smelled them baking—the aroma seemed to fill every room. —Esther Perea, Van Nuys, California Get Recipe
I’ve found that those who aren’t necessarily coffee fans often change their tune when they get a whiff of this chocolaty coffee drink. I like to serve up a big batch at parties. —Joanne Holt, Bowling Green, Ohio Get Recipe
A German holiday tradition, these fragrant cookies pack a warm rush of spices in every bite. Also called peppernuts, they go wonderfully with coffee or tea.—Joanne Nelson, East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania Get Recipe
Herbed Turkey with Citrus Dressing
This tasty turkey recipe is a spin on traditional herb flavors. The citrus hints refresh your taste buds!—Susan Voigt, Plymouth, Minnesota Get Recipe