Chinese Star Anise 10 Seeds - Illicium verum - Rare
Attractive slow growing tree to 58' from South China. Known for its ornamental value as an attractive Magnolia-like tree with ovate leaves, and for its star shaped fruits. The unripe fruits are the source of the culinary spice and a distilled oil used in medicine and in industry for flavoring which is recognized as Star Anise. Today grown almost exclusively in southern China, Indo-China, and Japan. It was first introduced into Europe in the seventeenth century. The oil, produced by a process of steam extraction, is substituted for European aniseed in commercial drinks. Hardy in tropical areas in cooler regions can be grown as a patio plant or house plant. Spice Description Star anise is the unusual fruit of a small oriental tree. It is, as the name suggests, star shaped, radiating between five and ten pointed boat-shaped sections, about eight on average. These hard sections are seed pods. Tough skinned and rust coloured, they measure up to 3cm (1-1/4) long. The fruit is picked before it can ripen, and dried. The stars are available whole, or ground to a red-brown powder. Bouquet: Powerful and liquorice-like, more pungent and stronger than anise. Flavour: Evocative of a bitter aniseed, of which flavour star anise is a harsher version. Nervertheless, the use of star anise ensures an authentic touch in the preparation of certain Chinese dishes. Preparation and Storage The whole stars can be added directly to the cooking pot; pieces are variously referred to as segments, points and sections. Otherwise, grind the whole stars as required. Small amounts are used, as the spice is powerful. Stored whole in airtight containers, it keeps for well over a year.