Star anise is the unusual fruit of a small oriental tree found in parts of China traditionally. It is, as the name suggests, star-shaped, radiating between five and ten-pointed boat-shaped sections, about eight on average and is found to be grown in most parts of the world.
These hard sections are seed pods. Tough skinned and rust coloured, they measure up to 3cm long. The fruit from the Chinese evergreen tree Illicium verum is picked before it can ripen, and dried. The stars are available whole or ground to a red-brown powder.
The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for one pod (0.2g) of star anise.
- A) Calories: 0.7
- B) Fat: 0 grams
- C) Sodium: 0 mg
- D) Carbohydrates: 0 grams
- E) Fiber: 0 grams
- F) Sugars: 0 grams
- G) Protein: 0 grams
- A) Star anise may have anti-bacterial properties and it might also be operative against bacteria, yeast, and fungal strains.
- B) Star anise is rich in antioxidants and Vitamin A and C, which help fight free radicals that are responsible for early aging and diabetes.
- C) Star anise contains a component called anethole, which gives this spice its characteristic flavour. Anethole is used in Chinese medicine to provide treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions.
- D) Star Anise is also used to treat infant belly ache.
Star anise can be used in morning tea as a spice element for people who love masala chai. In Asia and majorly in India, people prefer making their own blend of spices called the masalas. In the case of such a homemade blend, star anise is added in them in smaller quantities due to its strong flavour which is sweet as well as spicy.
A very famous and sought after dish called Biryani, which is over showered with love amongst the spicy food lovers, is added with a twist of star anise to give out a great taste to the delicious rice and the masala.