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Information for Anise
Generally known as Aniseed, Anise is a flowering annual plant that comes from the Pimpinella anisum species native to Southwest Asia and the Mediterranean. A tall plant, Aniseed produces feathery green leaves joined by white flowers and ribbed-shaped dried fruits as its seeds. When ripe, the seeds are greenish-brown or grayish-green in color.
Aniseed is considered to be an aromatic spice and has been used throughout history for its fragrance. The taste of the seeds is comparable to fennel or licorice. In fact, Aniseed extracts are believed to boost flavors of licorice-laden sweets.
In cooking, the seeds can be grounded or used whole. They are essential ingredients in a variety of global confections such as Italian biscottis, Mexican champurrados, British aniseed balls, and German biscuits among others. Aniseed is also used to enrich the flavor of liquor. Popular intoxicants and spirits such as the French Absinthe and German Jägermeister have Aniseed as an ingredient.
Not only is Aniseed used in cooking and liquor, it serves a medicinal purpose as well. It is often used as a remedy for menstrual cramps, an aid for lactating mothers, a cure for insomnia, and an antidote for bad breath. Plus, its essential oils are used as repellent for mites, asp bites, and head-lice.
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