Anise Herb - A Great Spice
Anise - A Poll
Do you like Anise?
I love the smell of anise, and think it's a wonderful herb. I have always liked it, and know many people that do not. I will try to share what I have learned and am still learning about anise, here with you.
Aniseed essential oil in aromatherapy, is used to treat flu and colds. What a fascinating concept.
Absinthe, a very strong alcoholic drink using anise was very popular in Europe in the 1800's. It became popular all around the world but because of the Temperance Movement was targeted for banning . Lately ,enthusiasts have seen a slight revival of the drink
Anethole and thujone are a couple of chemicals in anise, that have been purported to be slightly and possibly hallucinogenic in nature.
In Great Britain some of the old steam trains used anise in some of the parts associated with friction so that the distinctive smell would give warning in case of overheating. What brilliant idea of using an aroma I like to warn me of a problem like a potential Locomotive catastrophe. I just love that!
Fishermen and hunters sometimes use anise as a scent for bait. Some say it can be put on fishing lures to attract fish. Who knew there were so many interesting uses for anise?
How to grow Anise:
Take the seed heads off and put them into a brown paper bag. Usually, you can rubber band the top of the bag into a bunch, to close it partially, while still allowing for a little air circulation. Keeps out dust and anything else in the mean time.
The seed heads should burst open on their own. After they do, gather them, and you can then store them in an airtight jar. Keep out of direct light to last longer.
Use some of the seeds to grow for a crop next year.
Select a well lit sunny, sheltered spot with good soil. I've had some success growing in pots, but the other is best in my opinion.
Grow indoors in mid spring and plant out in late spring, about 1 foot apart.
Keep free from weeds and water frequently and protect against winds and the elements.
It flowers about midsummer. Don't be surprised if you get some butterfly visitors to your garden if you are growing anise.
Harvesting Your Anise:
They usually only ripen in the summer.
When the flowers have gone, the seed heads will turn grayish-brown in the fall.
Along with the aromatherapy mentioned above, there are some other medicinal uses of the spice anise. The oil from the seeds has been used in cough remedies and even lozenges, and antiseptics. Its been a cure for hiccups, as well. I had no idea, and evidently you chew on a few of the seeds, and wash that down with some water.
In the past, they have used anise to lay a trail out for hound trailing, as dogs find the smell of anise attractive. Evidently its attractive to humans as well, as as anise is used in perfumes and soaps.
In cooking, anise as an ingredient is use in both savory and sweet cooking dishes. This spice is good for flavoring rye bread (especially), cakes, biscuits, fish soups, sauces and other breads.
Some popular drinks, flavored with anise are Greek ouzo, Arab Arak, Spanish ojen, Turkish raki, French pastis, Pernod and Ricard, and a liqueur called anisette.
Growing Anise - A Poll
Have you ever grown anise in your own garden?
© 2010 Paula