Anise is an herbaceous annual, flowering-plant, from the “apiaceae” family, that grows to between 2 and 3 feet tall and 1-2 feet wide. Pimpinella anisum has white, to yellow-white “umbels” that bloom in the summer time. The leaves of the Anise plant are said to look very similar to “Queen Ann’s Lace”, and very fern-like in appearance. Anise is thought to be a native to the Mediterranean and S.W. Asian regions.
Flavor and Aroma: Anise has a spicy, yet sweet flavor and an aroma that is similar to black licorice. Pimpinella anisum, has often been compared to licorice/liquorice, fennel, and tarragon in both flavor and aroma.
Growing Anise in your herb garden: Anise will self-seed after the first time you plant it, so expect to have it come back next year, without the extra work of re-planting it. For initial planting, plant pimpinella anisum seeds directly into the soil they will be grown in, or you may start your pimpinella anisum seeds indoors – approximately 8 weeks before final front in your area, then transplant them into the ground – after final frost.
Your anise plants will grow best in full sunlight, when planted in a light, well-drained soil, with little to no fertilizer. Plant in rows about 1 foot apart, in groups of 4-6 plants.
Plant pimpinella anisum near cilantro, and watch them both flourish – they make GREAT companions!
Pests/Diseases: Anise is resistant to most pests, and will rarely see disease. The anise plant will make a great, pest and disease-free, addition to your herb garden.
Harvesting Anise: Harvest the leaves of the anise plant – in the summer, before the flowers bloom. The seeds if Anise may be harvested in early-fall, once they have fully ripened. Harvest the seeds late in the morning, after any dew has dried.
To harvest the seeds, cover the “seed heads” first, then snip them off.
Drying Anise after harvest: To dry the leaves of the anise plant, cut the stems from the main stalk, and hang-dry.
Chopped leaves may be stored for later use by freezing them.
Uses for Anise (pimpinella anisum):
Cooking:Anise leaves are commonly used in salads, as well as meat dishes such as; chicken and fish, and also makes a great addition to many veggie dishes. The seeds are also used in salads, as well as in baked goods like; bread, bagels, and desserts.
medicinal uses:Anise is said to have many medical/herbal uses. For years anise has been used to aid digestion, as well as ease coughs from the common cold.
Other uses for Anise (pimpinella anisum):The seeds of the Anise herb plant, are often used whole, or ground and used as a natural flavouring agent for tasty treats like; black jelly beans, many liquors, licorice, and even some root beers! Anise has also been said to help fishermen land their catch. I hear rumour from several fishermen, who claim putting the scent of anise on their fishing lures has helped them land huge fish!