To find star anise, look near the spice section of the grocery store. However, most whole foods stores sell star anise so you may have better luck there. Star anise is a Chinese plant that has a similar appearance to a star. It’s quite the sight to the eye and is regularly used as a decoration!
Star anise has a similar taste to licorice but also has an earthy hint of flavor. It’s great for warm dishes such as desserts, but it can also be used in drinks, as spices, and used as a fragrance!
A cool fact about star anise is that it has many health benefits to offer, which isn’t surprising considering the number of nutrients that it contains. We’re also going to cover a few substitutes for this hard to find spice to hold you over, just in case it’s seemingly impossible to find.
Great Benefits of Star Anise
Star anise has anti-viral properties that can help defend from viruses of all kinds. Shikimic, a compound found in star anise, has numerous attributes that fight and kill off viruses such as colds, flu, and more. The result is better when star anise is consumed regularly.
Several factors play a role in the antibacterial aspect, but the main one is the extract derived from star anise. Studies show that the extract can kill bacteria such as E. coli, streptococcus, and more. Although it’s undoubtedly not alcohol, we can’t dent its effectiveness!
Star anise is also beneficial for you because it contains several healthy nutrients needed for our bodies to thrive. For starters, it contains quercetin, which is phenomenal for inflammation, especially for MCAS sufferers. Plus, it has antioxidants, which are essential to our health.
The actual spice may be hard to find, but the seeds are typically more available. The seeds may also be ground into a fine powder and provide the same taste as star anise. It’ll also feature the same health benefits as long as it’s not cooked for very long.
Chinese Five Spice Powder
To get the same full, rich flavor of star anise, consider Chinese five-spice powder. It features a very similar taste, just without the licorice hint. It’s not going to replace it, but if you’re in a pinch, it can work great as an alternative.
Allspice is a combination of multiple seasonings and can add quite a bit of flavor to a dish. Although the taste isn’t strictly comparable, it works great with most foods that star anise is regularly used for. It will not carry most of the health benefits, though.
Common Uses of Star Anise
Star Anise Green Tea
To make star anise green tea, simply make a cup of green tea, then place in one stick of cinnamon and a little star anise. Let sit for just a few minutes, then enjoy! A cool fact about this is that the cinnamon adds several health benefits!
Star Anise Wine
Just when you thought fine wine couldn’t get any better, star anise comes and eradicates that opinion. To make star anise wine, choose a sweet wine, add cinnamon, and star anise to your desire. This results in an even sweeter, rich flavorful addition to your drink.
Poached pears consist of ingredients such as cranberry juice, brown sugar, star anise, and peppercorn. The result is a sweet yet spicy enjoyment that carries an abundance of health benefits. Cherries are optional, but will make it stand out!
Star anise has been a traditional spice for centuries but is just now growing in popularity after its discovery in the west. It’s super-rich in health benefits and looks great while providing them!
They can be used for several types of foods, as the spice is exceptionally versatile. The substitutes, while not perfect, will save you in a pinch, enjoy!