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Whole fruit star anise

Whole fruit star anise
Whole fruit star anise

Whole fruit star anise

What is star anise? The history of this ancient spice

You may not recognize the name, but you have probably tasted star anise. This spice has the appearance of a multi-pointed star, which explains its other name - Illicium verum. It is native to China, Indonesia and Vietnam and has long been used in these cultures to add depth of flavor to food and drink. In fact, we know that fresh star anise pods were found in Tutankhamun's tomb. The spice is obtained from the fruit of a small evergreen tree that grows in dense tropical forests. As the fruit ripens, it detaches from the tree and opens to reveal these red-brownish seeds with an intoxicating aroma. The Chinese began drying them for use as spices, but the Europeans had other ideas on how to use them. They squeezed them with sugar or added them to alcohol to create liqueurs such as the infamous French anisette drinks, similar to Ouzo or Sambuca, which are still popular today.

Why is it so popular in Chinese cuisine?

The Chinese have been using this spice for thousands of years because it goes well with different types of meat, vegetables and fish. It is also believed to have a calming effect that promotes digestion and calms the mind. There are many traditional Chinese dishes that include star anise, such as braised pork, beef stew, duck and even some desserts. The Chinese also use it to treat indigestion, abdominal pain, and breathing problems such as colds and flu. It is an anti-inflammatory and a diuretic that is believed to have a positive effect on blood pressure. Star anise is also used in Chinese herbal medicine for rheumatism and to improve the functions of the liver, kidneys and pancreas.

How is star anise used in cooking?

The dried pods are used whole or ground into a powder. They can be added to meat, stews and soups, and are excellent as a spice for pickles and for filling roasts. The fresh pods can be used to flavor creams, puddings and ice cream, while the leaves can be used in salads. When cooking with star anise, remember that a small amount is enough. It should be added with salt and pre-boiling, otherwise it will flavor the water. It goes well with apples, carrots, cabbage, duck, pork, poultry, root vegetables and quiches. Star anise can be used to flavor tea and coffee and is a great addition to sugar for desserts.

Star anise and digestion

As mentioned, star anise is widely used in Chinese medicine to improve digestion and calm the digestive tract. It is used to treat indigestion, gas and bloating. This powerful spice also stimulates the production of digestive enzymes by the pancreas and the secretion of bile by the gallbladder. Anise is also believed to have antimicrobial properties that can help fight the bacteria that cause indigestion. While there isn't enough scientific evidence to support these claims, many herbalists agree that star anise is a great remedy for diarrhea and other digestive problems.

Star anise to freshen your breath

If you've been chewing on the star anise pods, your breath is sure to be fresh. But what if you don't have them handy? The good news is that you can make your own chewing gum. Just add a few whole pods to a small jar, cover it with a piece of cloth, and leave it warm for three weeks. But if chewing gum isn't your thing, there are plenty of other ways to use star anise to freshen your breath. You can add it to your toothpaste or use it in a natural mouthwash (see recipe below). You can also chew cinnamon sticks or cloves, which also have antibacterial properties.

Star anise for the respiratory tract

As mentioned above, star anise is widely used in Chinese herbal medicine as a remedy for colds, flu and other respiratory problems. You can drink star anise tea to relieve cough, congestion and shortness of breath caused by respiratory diseases. You can also add a few pods to the pot to make a potpourri or steep them in a vinegar solution to freshen the air. Volatile star anise oils can be used to make a chest tincture to relieve respiratory problems. It can also be used in a steam inhalation along with other herbs, such as orange peel, cloves or sage.

Final Words: Is Star Anise Worth Buying?

Star anise is a great spice to keep in the pantry. It is inexpensive, has many uses, and lasts for years when stored in an airtight container in a dark place.

17.90€