What Is Anise Plant?

Explains what is anise plant and details how it is used in cooking. Also provides information on anise's nutritional benefits and medicinal use.

Anise is a vegetable that has a taste that is similar to licorice. Although it has the same name as the herb anise, it is a separate plant with different features and uses. Anise is also called sweet anise and finocchio and is a vegetable that is commonly grown in Europe. Especially popular in France and Italy, anise is also available for purchase in the United States and in other countries.

You can identify anise by its large, bulbous base and its feather-like stalks. Both the base and the feathers from the stalks can be used in cooking. Because of its unique taste, it is most commonly used in dishes where fish is an ingredient, as it complements that food group nicely.

You can purchase anise year-round in many larger supermarket chains and in specialty fruit and vegetable stores. When purchasing anise, select only those that are firm and whose bulbous base is colored a bright white. Additionally, the feathery stalks should be bright green in color. Avoid purchasing anise that is wilted or that has any brown colored or moldy spots on it. Once you have purchased your anise, you can safely store it in your home for up to one week as long as the anise remains unwashed and is stored in your refrigerator.

When you are ready to use the anise, remove the stalks from the bulb, wash the bulb under cold water, and use it as required in your recipes. You can also use the stalk's feathers as a seasoning by washing them then placing them directly into stews and soups. As you can see, anise can be used in cooking in a variety of ways. Additional uses for anise include cutting the bulb and adding it, raw, to salads, adding chopped anise bulbs to stuffing, omelets, and casseroles, and boiling or steaming pieces of the bulb to serve as a side dish.

Using anise in your cooking is a healthy choice to make because anise contains no cholesterol or fat and is low in sodium. It also provides a good source of the vitamins A and C and of potassium. Additionally, 120 gram of anise, which is approximately 1/2 of an anise bulb, contains 35 calories, making it a nutritious and low-cal vegetable alternative for those on a diet.

Although anise has been used throughout the world for many years as a cooking ingredient because of its tasty and nutritious offerings, it has also been used in many countries as a holistic, medicinal product. For example, eating anise is said to be a good treatment for coughs and works as an aid in preventing gastric-intestinal bloating and flatulence. Some Italians serve anise, raw, after a meal to help promote digestion. Anise is also said to help those who suffer from anemia, especially women, and works to help alleviate kidney problems.

Because anise has many uses, both dietary and medicinal, it is a good choice to add it to your weekly shopping cart. It also adds a unique flavor to many meals and is worth experimenting with in your recipes.

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