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 colored, 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 Star anise.
Flavour: Evocative of a bitter Star aniseed, of which flavor Star anise is a harsher version. Nevertheless, the use of Star anise ensures an authentic touch in the preparation of certain Chinese dishes.