AniseAnise or aniseed
) is a vegetable as well as an herb, and comes from the same family, Apiaceae, as fennel
, which is also used both as an herb and a vegetable. The vegetable portion of the two are sometimes confused. Dill
, and cumin
are also in the same family.
Licorice, the source of licorice extract, has a similar flavor but is a completely separate plant from a different family. However, since aniseed oil is often used to enhance the flavor of licorice candy, distinguishing the flavors can be difficult. Although star aniseaniseanise has a similar name and contains the same distinctive aromatic compound (anethole) as aniseaniseanise, it is from the Illiciaceae family and is not related.
Like the other members of its family, anise is a tall plant with feathery green leaflets. It grows to a height of 1½ to 4 feet (46 to 122 cm). The flowers are white, and the fruit, which looks like ribbed seeds and is often referred to as seed, is grey-green or greenish-brown when ripe
The stems of the anise plant, which have the same characteristic flavor as the seeds, are eaten as a vegetable. The seeds are characteristically used in cookies such as Italian biscotti
and German springerle, in bread, and in sausage. Anise seeds are also used as a seasoning in curry and hoisin
, while the oil is used in several liquers including anisette and ouzo, and in the liquor absinthe
. The oil of anise is also used in toothpaste, chewing gum, cough syrups, and soap, among other products.