Organic Anise Seeds
Anise seed, or Pimpinella anisum, is of the parsley family and is related to caraway, cumin, dill, and fennel. It is used as an ingredient in sweets because of its flavor that is fruity and warm and its scent that is reminiscent of licorice. Despite their similar names, star anise and anise seed are not related.
Anise seed has an essential oil content that ranges from 1.5% to 6% and is made up of mostly trans-anethole.
Anise seed is also called aniseed. In Arabic it is called "habbet hilwa," it is known as "huei xiang" in Mandarin, "anis vert" in French, "anis" is the German name, "patli saunf" is the Hindi name, "anisu" is what you would hear in Japanese, "erva doce" is Portuguese, and it is known as "anis" to both Russian and Spanish speakers.
History of Anise
Anise was used in Egypt as early as the 1500s as a medicinal and culinary ingredient. In some parts of the world, it was used to make skin salves that were used for abrasions and other minor skin irritations, like bug bites. Some historical texts suggest that if you rub anise seed oil on something, it will attract bees from any nearby areas up to a mile away, even if there are no flowers or other sources of pollen in the area. Anise, according to some historians, was important to the Roman people who would bake them into spicy cakes that would be served after large dinners or feasts. The cakes were supposed to help digestion and ease any gas or hiccups. It was also used by Greeks in sweets and dishes with lots of spices in them.
Anise seed has always been a popular part of greyhound racing because the dogs love the scent of anise so much. The hare toy used in these races is often covered in anise seed oil so it will encourage the dogs to run faster. Some specialty bakers who make dog treats also bake a small amount of anise seeds into the treats, since anise has a similar effect on dogs that catnip has on cats.
This seed has not ever been a popular ingredient in mainstream American cooking or cuisine. It is mostly the oil that is used for food manufacturing, especially in candies and licorice. This is an ingredient that is much more likely to be used in foreign cuisines, like Mediterranean cuisines.
Anise plants prefer full sun, well drained soils that have a neutral pH, though they can survive in slightly alkaline soils. This plant needs lots of water until it has an established root system, and then it will be more drought tolerant. The plants have white flowers when they are in full bloom. The seed is small and oval shaped that varies in color from a light brown to a grayish green. It may have a "whisker" at the end of it, but this is just a part of the thin stem that the seed is attached to and has little effect on flavor. Some people say this little stem will give a boost of anise flavor, but most say that the flavor is unchanged with or without the little whiskers.
Where is it from?
Our Organic Anise Seeds are from Egypt.
Cooking with Organic Anise Seed
Cooking with anise seed is common in Europe. It is used in sweets, cakes, cookies, breads, and fruit dishes. You will find anise seed in Indian cuisine, though it will mostly be ground and not whole. In Indian cuisines, it is used in fish-based dishes and vegetable curries. In Hispanic culture, anise seeds are prominent in stews. You might know this ingredient most familiarly in Italian pizzelle or in Peruvian picarones. This seed is an easy to incorporate ingredient, so it is sometimes added directly into batters or used in an olive oil spread over breads before baking.
A very delicious recipe that you can make with anise seeds are drunk anise seed cookies. You will need 2 tablespoons of anise seeds, 3 tablespoons of your favorite rum, 1 and a quarter cups of butter, 3/4 of a cup of sugar, 1 and a ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract, 2 and ½ cups of flour, 1 egg, ½ teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, and 1 and ½ teaspoons of ground cloves. Put your anise seeds in a small bowl and add the rum. Let this sit overnight. In a mixing bowl, combine the softened butter, sugar, and vanilla until it is smooth. Stir in the anise seed and rum, combining well, and then add the egg and mix again. In a separate dish, combine flour, salt, baking powder, and cloves. Stir those into the wet mixture slowly, then cover the batter and let it sit in the fridge for an hour. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a spoon to make cookie dough balls to your preferred size and place them on a non-stick baking sheet two inches apart. Bake for about ten minutes or until the edges have slightly browned, then cool and enjoy.
Anise seed pairs well with spices like allspice, cinnamon, cardamom, fennel, garlic, star anise, and pepper. It tastes lovely with apples, chestnuts, and root vegetables.
Whole vs. Ground
Whole anise seeds have a longer shelf life than ground anise. With less exposed surface area, the oils are more easily retained. Once ground, the essential oils evaporate much more quickly. When stored properly in a cool, dry place that is away from direct sunlight, anise seed will stay flavorful and fragrant for up to a year.
What Does Organic Anise Seed Taste Like?
Organic Anise Seed is mildly spicy and sweet. It is a licorice-like flavor.
Substitutions and Conversions
When replacing anise seed in recipes, you can use star anise. They have similar flavor profiles, especially when used in small quantities. Fennel seed is slightly sweeter but can also be a good replacement. Caraway seed has a more delicate licorice flavor though it can be a decent substitute if you aren't looking for a very intense flavor.
Serving Size1 tsp
Amount Per Serving
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