Star Anise, Whole
1 lb bag $12.05
Whole Star Anise
For visual appeal, whole star anise beats most competitors in the spice cabinet. Because presentation is an important part of any dish, some chefs leave the symmetrical, 6- or 8-pointed star in the sauces, soups and stews it flavors. But star anise is more than just a pretty face. Its licorice-like taste, often likened to that of the botanically unrelated anise seed, has a pungent, slightly earthy complexity that pairs well with both savory dishes and sweetmeats.
Harvested as the unripe fruit of a magnolia-like, under-story tree (Illicium verum) native to southwestern China, sun-dried star anise is a staple of Chinese cooking. Ground, it is one of the key ingredients in five-spice powder, used in many Chinese recipes. It is also common in the Indian spice mix, garam masala, and figures in many curries. Star anise is the signature taste of Vietnamese phos.
Introduced to Europe in the 17th century, star anise is often used interchangeably with anise seed to underscore the sweetness of Western pastries, pies, cookies, cakes, even pickles. In recent years, star anise has found its way into traditional Italian dishes, because it pairs so well with tomato sauces, much as fennel does.
Star anise is one of those happy culinary surprises: an ingredient that is both delicious and healthy. Traditional Chinese medicine has long revered the spice for its ability to combat intestinal gas, improve the flow of breast milk and ease respiratory ailments. Recent medical studies underscore its antibiotic, antifungal and antioxidant effects. Indeed, much of today’s harvest is dedicated for pharmaceutical use, because the shikimic acid in star anise is a potent weapon against influenza.
Mount Hope Wholesale welcomes both bulk and individual buyers. Our whole star anise is available in 1-pound bags. We also offer ground star anise.