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Star anise is the dried star-shaped fruit of the anise tree. The anise plant and tree are considered fruits, but aniseseed falls into the group of spices. The anise tree can reach a height of up to eight meters and after about 6 years it produces its first fruits that can be harvested.
The brown-reddish star is about 7.5 cm long and consists of eight seed-bearing segments. Star anise has a strong sweet smell and tastes much stronger than aniseed. However, star anise loses its taste earlier. The taste of star anise is warm and licorice-like. The taste is slightly spicier and sharper than aniseed.
The quality of star anise is determined by the percentage of oil in the seeds, the light brown color and the spicy, pungent taste. The best quality of star anise can be found in Egypt and Spain. Verstegen's star anise comes from Spain.
Star anise can be used in biscuits, raw vegetable dishes, beet salads and fruit salads. The spice is also delicious in stew, winter dishes and sauces. In addition to its delicious smell and taste, star anise also has a beautiful appearance. The spice is therefore very nice as a garnish in mulled wine or a Christmas dessert. For example, try panna cotta with star anise.