Star Anise

star aniseThis spice comes from an evergreen tree in China and is greatly admired for its beauty. It has a 6 or 8-pointed star of slender pods, each cradling a seed. It not only looks beautiful, it tastes of a lovely licorice flavor with a hint of cinnamon and clove.

This spice is 13 times sweeter than sugar, but is often used in savory recipes, particularly with meats.

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…more than meets the eye.

This beautiful spice is more than just another pretty face. It has loads of flavor and even medicinal uses.

One whole star is enough to aromatize a vegetable stir fry dish.  When simmered with onions and soy sauce or tamari, it add a nice flare to beef, chicken and lamb.

Medicinal uses include:

  • Relieves gas, cramping, bloating and indigestion
  • Used in traditional Chinese medicine for clearing mucus from the respiratory tract
  • Case studies have indicated it useful for sinus issues
  • Fights influenza
  • Research shows it helps wards off viral, bacterial and fungal infections including Hepatitis B., Herpes simplex 1, HIV, Stept bacteria, Epstein-Barr virus and more.

Here are a few ideas in case this spice is new to you:

  1. Put a star anise in the pan when roasting chicken or beef.
  2. Add star anise to stewed apples or plums.
  3. Use it in soups, stews, and casseroles that require long cooking times.
  4. Use it to flavor teas.
  5. Grind it and add to a marinade.


Try adding one dried star anise pod and one slice of a fresh orange to a glass of water, and let sit for about 30 minutes before drinking it.  The water becomes infused with the spice and citrus flavor for a refreshing change of pace in beverages. Make a pitcher of this, for serving when entertaining; your guests will be delighted.

Spices Star Anise pairs well with:

Allspice, Black Pepper, Cardamom, Chile, Cinnamon, Cumin, Curry, Ginger, Fennel Seed, Mint, Nutmeg, Vanilla