Anise seeds give baked products and more a licorice flavour. Indian, Mexican, Italian, German, and Middle Eastern cuisines all frequently employ this spice. Italian charcuterie, pastries, and biscotti all contain anise seed. Its extract is used to flavour alcohol, such as ouzo and anisette.
What are Anise seeds?
Anise seed can be used whole or crushed as a spice. The seeds are also used to produce anise essential oil and extract. The Pimpinella anisum plant, which has been grown for many years in Egypt, the Middle East, and Europe, produces the seeds. The seeds are tiny, brownish-gray, somewhat curled, and have a licorice-like scent. Additionally, the plant bears flavorful leaves and stems that can be utilised as herbs and have licorice, fennel, or tarragon tastes.
Anise vs. Star Anise vs. Fennel
Star anise (Illicium verum), a distinct spice from a different plant family, is unrelated to anise despite having a similar name. Both contain anethole, the compound that gives anise its distinctive flavour, thus either can be used to make anise extract. The extract and seeds used in European, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern cuisine come from anise (Pimpinella anisum). China is the star anise's home country. Today, a large portion of the anise essential oil is made from star anise rather than anise because it is less expensive to manufacture.
Even though the two have a similar flavour and have fairly similar-looking plants, anise is not the same as fennel. Although they are separate species, anise and fennel belong to the same plant family as other herbs like caraway, parsley, and cilantro. Fennel is typically used as a vegetable, whereas anise is used as a spice in whole or powdered seed form.
How does it taste?
Anise has a strong, sweet, somewhat peppery, and licorice-like flavour. Anethole, an organic substance related to estragole and responsible for the flavours in tarragon and basil, creates this flavour. The fact that anethole is very soluble in alcohol but barely soluble in water is one of its main properties. As a result, liqueurs that include anise extract get hazy when you add water to them. The ouzo effect was named after one of the distinctive anise-flavored liqueurs.
Use of anise in cooking:
For baked goods, fruit filling for pies, and ground meat before baking, anise seed (whole or ground) can be added. Anise extract can be used to flavour beverages like coffee or hot chocolate as well as baked items. Additionally, the seeds can be utilised to make licorice-flavoured tea.
Numerous alcoholic beverages, such as anisette, ouzo, sambuca, and absinthe, are flavoured with anise seed. They are well-liked as post-dinner or dessert drinks because of their somewhat candy-like flavour. Additionally, they can be used to flavour coffee.
Health benefits of Anise seeds:
- Combats cancer
Anise seeds contain a high amount of antioxidants, which is great for our health and also helps to prevent different types of cancer from developing in our bodies. Antioxidants work to stop free radicals from oxidising healthy cells, which is what causes different types of cancer to develop in our bodies.
- Anise Seed act as Immune System Booster:
Anise seeds are incredibly rich in vitamins C and A, which are great for our general health and for boosting our immune system. Antioxidant qualities found in vitamins C and A aid in the battle against free radicals and guard against oxidative damage to our healthy cells. The immune system is strengthened by vitamin C, which also serves to promote the generation of white blood cells.
- Improves Skin Health
Anise seeds are extremely high in vitamin C, several B family vitamins, and minerals like phosphorus and zinc, all of which are excellent for the health of our skin. The fundamental cause of numerous skin problems, including wrinkles, dark spots, and other problems, is oxidative damage to our skin cells, which vitamin C works to prevent.
- Anise Seed Enhances Vision
Anise seeds are extremely helpful in preventing retinal damage because of the high concentration of beta-carotene they contain, which our bodies then convert into vitamin A. Additionally, vitamin A functions as an antioxidant by defending our eye cells from free radical-induced oxidative damage. Consuming anise seeds helps prevent macular degeneration, night blindness, cataracts, and other conditions, according to numerous research.
- Lowers Blood Sugar Level
Anise seeds are extremely high in dietary fibre and essential oils like estragole, p-anisaldehyde, anise alcohol, acetophenone, pinene, and limonene, which are great for our overall health and also reduce the risk of diabetes because fibre encourages the production of insulin in our bodies, which helps to slow down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream and lower blood sugar levels.
- Aniseed Can Prevent Anaemia
We are all aware that anaemia is a condition caused by a lack of iron in the body. Therefore, eating foods high in iron, like anise seeds, can definitely assist to increase our body's iron levels and lower the danger of developing anaemia.
- Improves Bone Health
Anise seeds are extremely rich in calcium, copper, manganese, and phosphorus, all of which are excellent for maintaining strong, healthy bones. Numerous studies have shown that regular consumption of foods high in calcium, like anise seeds, can enhance bone mineralization and fend off conditions connected to weak bones, like osteoporosis.
- Reduces Inflammation System
The essential oils estragole, p-anisaldehyde, anise alcohol, acetophenone, pinene, and limonene, which have anti-inflammatory qualities and aid in lowering pain and swelling, are abundant in anise seeds. Anise seed has a high copper concentration, which makes it an anti-inflammatory; studies have shown that frequent consumption of anise seed can alleviate a variety of inflammation-related conditions, such as arthritis.
- Prevents Respiratory Disorder
The plant anise seed has been used to heal a variety of ailments. It aids in avoiding respiratory conditions like bronchitis, asthma, catarrh, and other similar conditions.
- Reduces Blood Pressure
Anise seeds have a high potassium content, which works as a vasodilator to ease the pressure on blood vessels and allow for easy blood flow through arteries. It has been demonstrated that regularly consuming foods high in potassium, such anise seeds, can lower blood pressure and fend off numerous diseases like hypertension.