Anise Seed

General Description

Anise Seed is a gray-brown oval seed from Pimpinella anisum, a plant in the parsley family. It is related to caraway, dill, cumin, and fennel.

Geographical Sources

Spain and Turkey.

Traditional Ethnic Uses

Europeans use Anise in cakes, cookies, and sweet breads. In the Middle East and India, it is used in soups and stews. Its licorice-like flavor is popular in candies and Anise oil is used in liqueurs.

Taste and Aroma Description

Anise Seeds smell and taste like licorice.

History/Region of Origin

Anise is native to the Middle East and has been used as a medicine and as a flavor for medicine since prehistoric times. Ancient Romans hung Anise plants near their pillows to prevent bad dreams. They also used Anise to aid digestion and ward off epileptic attacks. Colonists in the New World used it as a medicinal crop too.

Storage Tips

Store in cool, dark, dry places.

A Few Ideas to Get You Started

Give fish and shellfish a wonderful Mediterranean flavor by adding Anise Seed to seafood stews. Make a quick sauce for grilled fish by combining melted butter, toasted Anise Seed, lemon juice, and minced green onion. To add special flavor and texture to baked goods, brush rolls or sugar cookies with beaten egg white and sprinkle with Anise Seed before baking. Anise Seeds naturally have short, hair-like "webs." Most of the webs are removed in processing, but since they carry flavor it is not necessary for all webbing to be eliminated.