This article is part of A Harmony of Flavors mission to publish pertinent articles to help bring people’s attention to important issues or problems and hopefully offer some form of education for them to make the best decisions. This Article describes that Star anise is the fruit of a small evergreen tree, Illicium verum. The tree grows to a height of about 26 feet, with shiny leaves and small yellow, multi-petaled flowers. The flowers are followed by fruits in the sixth year. The tree can continue to bear fruit for 100 years. The fruits are picked while still unripe and then sun dried. Its flavor is anise like, though much more potent and with a heavier licorice flavor component than common anise seed, and with a distinctly sweet note.
The shape of star anise is that of an irregular eight and sometimes up to twelve pointed star. In Chinese, the name means eight points. It is a very pretty and decorative spice, often used in crafts or floated in tea. The stars are the fruits and each point of the star is a pod holding one very shiny oval seed. The color of the pods is a deep rusty brown, and the shiny seeds a lighter caramel color. The brittle seeds are less aromatic than the fruit.
Star anise is a key ingredient in Chinese Five Spice Powder, along with cinnamon or cassia; other possible mixtures may include Szechuan peppercorns, black peppercorns, cloves, fennel, anise seed or ginger. This is the recipe I use to make my own blend.
Rawstern is an author, teacher, gourmet cook as well as a photographer and graphic artist. She has taken or created all images appearing on these sites. Her articles have been syndicated nationally.
Her background is Slovakian on her mother's side and Yugoslavian on her father's. Her grandparents came from Europe to the United States to make a better life for themselves and their families. Her ethnic cooking influences began at the cradle. She began her cooking career in Guatemala, in 1970 when she moved there as a 20-year-old newlywed, and set out to learn to cook in a foreign land. This process was complicated by the fact that she could not speak or read the language.
Rawstern loves food, new recipes, and to teach people how to cook from scratch. Her passion is to teach people how to create A Harmony of Flavors when they cook, find joy in baking and help pass along her love of and joy in foods, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy, as she continues her journey in both ethnic cooking and domestic. Her favorite saying in her class is “Life is short – eat dessert first”.
About the Author
My name is Chris Rawstern and I have been on a cooking and baking journey for 42 years. I love food. I love to cook, and teach people how to cook, from scratch. I love baking. I love to create new recipes and try them. I hope to inspire you to follow me!
I would love to hear from you, to help me continue my journey to explore diverse culinary experiences and hopefully to start you on a journey of collecting favored recipes of your own. Visit me at my Web site (http://www.aharmonyofflavors.com/