Star anise is a spice made from the fruit of the Chinese evergreen tree Illicium verum. It’s aptly named for the star-shaped pods from which the spice seeds are harvested and has a flavor that is reminiscent of licorice. he flavor, which is contained in both the seeds and the star itself, is very sweet and licorice-like, similar to aniseed (though the plants are not related). In China, which has used it for centuries, star anise is a key ingredient in five-spice powder (with cloves, cinnamon, fennel and Sichuan peppercorns).
Star anise has a mild and fragrant licorice flavor. It is brown in color and has an aroma similar to that of a fennel seed. It has a strong licorice taste, more intense than regular anise. The fruits are picked up just before the harvest. Star anise contains an essential oil that is responsible for its flavor. Rust colored and tough skinned, they have widely used aromatic properties. If kept away from sunlight and stored in an airtight container, it can last up to a year.
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