Source: Mountain Rose Herbs
Organic + Kosher
Standardized: star anise
Other: Chinese star anise, takkola
Illicium verum Hook. f.
Plant Family: Schisandraceae
It’s easy to recognize anise star pods; they usually look like an eight-pointed star. This fruit of a tree in magnolia family native to China and Vietnam produces tough-skinned, rust-colored fruits that are picked and dried before ripening. Anise star pods are hotter, more pungent, more bitter, and much more “licorice-like” than the European anise.
Anise star pods are used in Chinese “red” cooking, where foods are cooked for a long time in soy sauce. The herb is used to flavor “marbled eggs” and many Asian soups, in Thai iced tea, and in Peking duck. Anise star pods are also chewed after meals in order to freshen breath.
The dried fruits, harvested and dried before ripening, ground before storage. Ground star anise added to baked goods protects them from spoilage by bacteria or fungi.