Aniseed is the seed produced by a flowering plant called Pimpella anisum. The anise plant belongs to the Apiaceae family. It is a culinary herb, but many parts of this plant are used in herbal infusions. The seeds of this herbaceous plant are oval-shaped and grayish-brown in color. It is the ash-colored variety from Spain that is mostly used for culinary purposes. Since the seeds of this plant have a distinctive licorice-like flavor, these are used to add flavor to cookies, breads, cakes, cheese, pickles, fish and several savory dishes. It is also used in seasoning blends such as curry, sausage and pepperoni seasonings. Its uses are not just restricted to cooking, it has been known for its medicinal properties since ages.
Ancient texts reveal that the seeds of this plant were used in Egypt, Rome and Greece thousands of years ago. Even the Romans were aware of the culinary uses and the medicinal properties of this herb and used them to add flavor to a special cake baked in bay leaves. This cake was known as mustaceus and was consumed after heavy meals to prevent indigestion. The oil extracted from seeds of this plant is also used for aromatherapy. It is believed that this oil has estrogenic properties and a massage with this essential oil also helps in treating menstrual pain. You can also use anise seed for babies suffering from colic.
The seeds of this plant are used in several herbal remedies. Tea made from the seeds of this plant can be very helpful in providing relief from cough. It also helps in treating some skin conditions and stomach ailments such as bloating, heartburn and indigestion. If you have been suffering from cough, you could drink 2 teaspoons of aniseed tea 2-3 times daily. Here's the recipe for making this tea.
- Water - 1 quart
- Herbal aniseed - 7 teaspoons
- Honey - 4 teaspoons
- Glycerin - 4 teaspoons
- Take a saucepan and add a quart of water to it.
- Bring the water to a boil.
- When water starts boiling, add the herbal aniseed.
- Now reduce the flame and wait till you get a concentrated mixture that measures a pint.
- Get a strainer and strain the liquid very gently.
- Add honey and glycerin to it.
- The flavorsome aniseed tea is ready!
Since aniseed has a licorice-like flavor, it is used to spice up several recipes. Have you been using caraway seeds, star anise or fennel seeds in your recipes? If yes, then you might find it easier to include aniseed in your recipes. Fennel can be used as a substitute for aniseed as its flavor is somewhat similar. If you love baking cakes and cookies, you could even use aniseed oil or extract. Here's the recipe for delicious cookies.
- Eggs - 3
- Milk - a quarter cup
- Sugar - 1 cup
- Baking powder - 3 teaspoons
- Flour-3 ¼ cup
- Butter- ¾ cup
- Anise oil - a quarter teaspoon
- Take a large bowl and add sugar and melted butter to it.
- Beat in eggs and add milk to the mixture.
- Now add flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt to it.
- Stir the contents properly.
- Add the oil to the mixture.
- Knead the contents. Make sure that the dough is dry.
- Make small balls and sprinkle powdered sugar over them.
- Set the oven at 375 degrees and bake the cookies for 10 minutes.
- Delicious cookies are ready!
Now that you are aware of the health benefits and culinary uses of anissed, you can use this spice to treat certain common ailments and use it to add flavor to your recipes. Aniseed essential oil can also be used as an aromatic oil. Use the seeds in your recipes and seek the double advantage of good taste and good health.