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Anise is a vegetable plant. It has a light fruity aroma, as well as a sweet and spicy taste. This plant has been used as a spice since ancient times. Its seeds were discovered at the first settlements of the Stone Age people.
This is a very useful plant, which is useful in any garden. In addition to its unusual taste, it has many medicinal properties, it is an excellent phytocidal agent that repels insects, as well as an excellent honey plant that attracts bees with its fluffy umbrellas to the area. Often in gardens, anise is grown in beds and sometimes in flower beds.
The stems, leaves, fruits and roots of the plant contain essential oil in their composition, but its content is highest in fruits - about 6%. Essential oil contains methylhavikol up to 10% and anethole up to 90%. It is thanks to these substances that anise has a specific odor. In addition, it contains some acids, protein substances, sugars, fatty oil and many other useful substances.
As mentioned above, this is a honey plant, from 1 ha of which about 100 kg of honey is collected.
Anise is widely used in cooking as ground fruits, which are components of many mixtures of herbs. Ground raw materials have an original and refreshing taste, as well as a sweetish smell. But the aroma is quickly lost, and therefore it is better to buy it in small quantities.
Plant seeds are often used for baking a variety of confectionery: pancakes, muffins, gingerbread cookies, pies, cookies. Also added as a flavor for bakery products and bread. Young aniseed herbs become an excellent ingredient for vegetable and fruit salads, umbrellas are used as additives to dairy, fruit soups, borsch, sweet dishes and puddings. Special aroma and taste is given to dishes made from cabbage. Also, with the help of anise, an unusual option is created when cooking pickles and pickles: pickling cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini and so on. Often used to create sour cream sauces with dill, garlic and fennel.
In Russian cuisine it is used for making kvass, kissel, and mousse.
There are also varieties of aniseed vodka, alcohol tinctures that are used as an aperitif. After such a drink, the appetite increases significantly and digestion improves.
It should be noted that when cooking, it is necessary to distinguish between star anise and ordinary anise. These plants are not related, although both are considered spices. They are similar in smell, but completely different in appearance and also in taste. Usually, if the recipe refers to ordinary anise, then its amount is indicated in bulk measures, while anise flowers are measured by the number of stars used.
When cooking, anise can be replaced with caraway seeds.
Use in medicine
The plant was used for medicinal purposes by the ancient Romans. It has disinfecting, anti-inflammatory properties, has a beneficial effect on digestion, and promotes the formation of breast milk.
For pharmaceutical purposes, it is used to create medicinal syrups, teas, lozenges, as well as to improve the smell and taste of other drugs.
The oil contained in the plant is an excellent phytocidal agent, therefore anise is widely used in phytocosmetics.
Landing and care
Anise is a water-loving and frost-resistant plant. But he loves warmth during the flowering and ripening period. If the weather during this period is rainy and cold, the inflorescences are sick, and the yield in umbrellas is low.
This culture loves light, fertile and non-acidic soils. It does not tolerate marshy, heavy loamy or easily glowing places. Land for planting must be cleaned of rhizomes of weeds. The best time to prepare the soil for planting is autumn. At this time, a certain area is dug up to a depth of 20-25 cm. Manure or compost is introduced. In the spring, the designated area is again dug up (5-6 cm), leveled and slightly compacted.
Seed preparation and planting
Seeds grow very slowly, due to their structure and dense shell, poorly transmitting air and water. A special role on the growth is exerted by soil temperature. If it is 3-4 degrees, then the seeds will sprout in 25-30 days, if the temperature is higher, then the first sprouts appear already on 14-16 days.
So that the seedlings are friendly, before planting, soak the seeds for 2-3 days in water, changing it every day. Sowing takes place in April. The beds should be located at a distance of 30 cm.
It is best to plant a crop after potatoes and vegetables, and in no case after cilantro.
During the summer period, anise regularly needs to be loosened, watered abundantly in arid time. Sprouted seeds can be fed with nitrogen fertilizers. We recommend reading the article on fennel or sweet anise.
Collection and storage of anise
Greens are used in cooking before flowering plants. For drying, you need to carefully cut the stems with leaves and dry in a ventilated room. For good drying, it recommends mixing the raw materials, or hanging them in bunches in the shade.
Seed is harvested when the trunks of the plant turn yellow and the fruits turn brown. At this time, the plant is cut, bound in bunches and hung out to ripen to the end. Such bundles should be located in the shade and in a well-ventilated place. To dry the seeds, they must be cleaned of impurities and threshed. Whole seeds are stored in a dry and cool place in airtight packaging, which should be carefully closed after each use of the plant. Thus, the fragrance lasts longer.
Anise for medicinal purposes is collected in September, after the drilling of the first umbrellas. Seeds are dried in the open air or in dryers at a temperature of 50 degrees. Can be stored for up to three years in a closed container.
Anise is decorative due to its dark green dissected and openwork leaves that retain their color throughout the season. During flowering, it is decorated with white, very delicate inflorescences. The plant looks great in mass plantings. We recommend reading an article about common anise or fragrant.