Star Aniseed is a hard, brown, star shaped, air dried fruit with shiny brown seeds. It has a very strong aroma typical of anise. Excellent spice to dishes of poultry, fish and soups. Perfectly diversifies flavour sauces and meat.
Star anise contains anethole, the same ingredient that gives the unrelated anise its flavour. Star anise enhances the flavour of meat. It is widely used in Chinese cuisine, and in Malay and Indonesian cuisines as well as Thai cuisine. Star anise is also an ingredient of the traditional five-spice powder of Chinese cooking.
Star anise is used mainly as a spice but it is also known to have numerous important health benefits. It is a star shaped fruit belonging to a plant native to China called illicium verum. Star anise is not related to the European anise plants but it has a similar anise or licorice like flavour. It can be used in cooking as a spice or drunk as a tea. Star anise contains plenty of important minerals and vitamins including Vitamins A and C as well as small amounts of B vitamins. It also contains calcium and phosphorus but in terms of its medicinal value, perhaps its most important compound is shikimic acid.