Star Anise - Information and Spice Variations
Star anise is the fruit of a small evergreen tree native to southwest China. The star-shaped fruits are picked just before ripening and dried before use. They contain the same essential oil as the botanically unrelated Spanish anise seed, which gives the two a nearly identical flavor - strong, sweet, and licoricey.
Whole star anise is used to flavor tea, marinades, and soups. It is integral to the traditional Vietnamese soup pho, and is used in many other Chinese and southeast Asian dishes. Ground star anise, besides being used in baked goods, is a main ingredient in Chinese Five Spice powder.
Star anise comes to us in 100 lb packages from China or Vietnam. Each sack is carefully hand-sorted by our staff to separate the whole, beautiful eight-pointed stars from the broken pieces. Whole pieces are mostly used for garnishes or craft projects, while the cheaper broken pieces and incomplete stars are used in cooking. We grind star anise on the premises for the best flavor - use powdered star anise in baking, meat rubs, and bbq sauce.
Whole Broken Pieces or Ground Star Anise are practical for cooking purposes. The broken pieces will give you the same flavor at a third of the price…