£1.30 – £14.90
Whole Organic Star Anise
Product of: China
Nett Weight: 20g / 100g / 250g / 500g
Whole Organic Star Anise
Star anise grows as dark brown pods with eight segments, each containing a pea-sized seed. This spice hails from an evergreen tree plant that is native to southern China and northeast Vietnam, although it is cultivated in countries like Laos, Korea, Japan, Taiwan and the Philippines.
Star anise tastes much like a standard anise seed, but slightly more bitter, which is why some chefs use it to provide a liquorice flavour for some dishes.
Some people think that star anise and anise seed are the same. While both spices contain an essential oil called anethole, their similarities end there. For starters, anise seed belongs to the Apiaceae family, versus star anise that comes from the Schisandraceae family.
Anise seed is used more in Western dishes, particularly in Greek and French cuisine, since it has an intense, aromatic flavour that’s good for sauces. On the other hand, star anise is more common in Asian cooking.
Star anise contains anethole, the same ingredient that gives the unrelated anise its flavour. Recently, star anise has come into use in the West as a less expensive substitute for anise in baking, as well as in liquor production, most distinctively in the production of the liqueur Galliano. It is also used in the production of sambuca, pastis, and many types of absinthe. Star anise enhances the flavour of meat.
It is used as a spice in preparation of biryani and masala chai all over the Indian subcontinent. It is widely used in Chinese cuisine, and in Malay and Indonesian cuisines. It is widely grown for commercial use in China, India, and most other countries in Asia. Star anise is an ingredient of the traditional five-spice powder of Chinese cooking. It is also a major ingredient in the making of phở, a Vietnamese noodle soup.
It is also used in the French recipe of mulled wine, called vin chaud (hot wine). If allowed to steep in coffee, it deepens and enriches the flavour. The pods can be reused in this manner multiple times by the pot-full or cup, as the ease of extraction of the taste components increases with the permeation of hot water.
“How long do spices last?”
Depends on both the type of spice and the conditions under which they are stored. Correctly dried and stored spices, do not actually spoil. But over time, they will lose their potency, aroma and flavour.
As a general rule, whole dried spices (not been ground) will last much longer than ground and can last for 1 to 3 years. Pre-ground spices do still always work very well but if possible buy the spice whole and grind it just before you use it. It is also never a bad idea to freeze any spare, try to remove as much air as possible and make sure it is kept sealed in the freezer to avoid moisture.
Here are some tips for maximising the shelf life of your spices:
• Store in an airtight container.
• Store in a cool, dark cupboard.
• Store away from direct heat or sunlight.
• Keep lid tightly closed when not in use.