Anise - Pimpinella anisum

Anise - Pimpinella anisum

We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.


Pimpinella anisum is an annual aromatic herb native to the Mediterranean area; the cultivation has long since extended to the whole of Europe; produces thin tufts of stems, which bear large elongated, pinnate leaves, with leaflets that change shape depending on the age: in the lower part of the plant they are wide, while climbing along the stem we find leaves consisting of almost linear parts. The leaves are thin, light green in color, vaguely reminiscent of parsley, and do not have an excessively strong aroma; in summer the tallest stems, which can reach 50-70 cm in height, produce large umbrella-shaped inflorescences, made up of tiny white flowers. The aromatic part of the plant, used in the kitchen is the seed, small in size, semi-woody, which contains large amounts of anethol, an essential oil with a penetrating, sweet and pleasant aroma, the one we all know as anise. La Pimpinella anisum It is widely used in European kitchens, especially in desserts, but also in savory dishes; the use of this aromatic herb is well known especially in liqueurs, such as Sambuca, or Pastis; typically the liqueurs based on this aromatic are very strong, and are consumed in purity, or mixed with water: this mixing causes a liquid hyaline, turbid, typical note of the liqueurs with this plant, which on the contrary are pure and clear instead.

Grow anise

As we said, pimpinella anisum It is an annual herbaceous plant, which is grown by seed; the anise produces fleshy roots, which can be easily damaged by a transplant, for this reason, in general, it is sown directly at home, in a very sunny plot. Sowing is carried out at the end of winter or early spring, as soon as the minimum temperatures begin to rise; it is made in a thin layer, on a fresh and well-drained soil, not necessarily rich; also withstand sandy or gravelly soils, as the plants survive even in drought conditions. Clearly, the young seedlings need regular watering, to be supplied whenever the soil is dry; as the season continues and the plants develop, the watering can become even less intense, as the plant becomes more resistant to water shortages. Flowering occurs in summer, and the seeds are harvested towards the end of summer. For a greater concentration of essential oil in the seeds it is important that the plants are in a very sunny area, and that they do not receive excessive watering at least in the last week of maturation. The seeds still gather green, and are then dried in the sun.

Pests and diseases

These plants do not suffer excessively for pests; what generally worries most those who cultivate Pimpinella anisum are the aphids, which nest above all on the large inflorescences; timely treatment is essential to prevent insects from remaining on the plant even when the seeds are harvested. Hardly these plants are attacked by fungi, unless they are grown in areas that are not suited to their development, shaded and very humid.

The essential oil contained in this shrub, for which it is grown and exploited, is also contained in large quantities in another plant, called star anise; the botanical name is Illicium verum, a tree native to the tropical forests of central Asia. These evergreen trees produce pendulous white flowers, very beautiful and decorative, followed by particular fruits divided into five or six pericarps, each containing a large shiny seed; the fruit forms a sort of star, and for this reason the spice is called star anise. The anethol content of the star variety is greater than that contained in the common variety, and moreover the harvest from a single large tree is enormous; for this reason today the most cultivated anise is undoubtedly the star-anise, to the detriment of the common variety that is grown as exclusively to produce seeds for herbal medicine; the industry instead uses anetholo extracted from star anise seeds. For this reason, in most cases liqueurs, candies, flavored desserts do not contain any trace of Pimpinella anisum. Since the essential oil that characterizes them is the same, the aroma of the two varieties is difficult to distinguish.Wild Fennel

Another plant that has a pier aroma similar to that of Pimpinella anisum is wild fennel, especially with regards to seeds; they are thinner and smaller than those of the pimpinella, and have a more woody aroma, but they also contain anetholo, and therefore have an aroma that is very reminiscent of this plant. Fennel (foeniculum vulgare) is also an annual herbaceous plant, which produces large umbrella-shaped inflorescences, with yellow flowers. In Italian cooking, more than fennel seeds, the whole herb is used, even the thinnest leaves and stems, which contribute to adding the typical woody and aromatic note of fennel, reducing that of anise and licorice; for this reason we often do not associate fennel with anise, despite the essential oil content.

Anise - Pimpinella anisum: Anise in the kitchen

Pimpinella anisum in Italy is mainly used as a spice for flavoring sweets and liqueurs, especially at Christmas time; in fact, it finds its place in the mix of spices for winter desserts and vin brige, along with cloves and cinnamon. Very typical are the brigidini, biscuits produced in the town of Lamporecchio, near Pistoia; these are thin wafers of eggs, flour and sugar, flavored; in Tuscan festivals they are often freshly prepared. The Sambuca liqueur is very typical of the Italian after-lunch, prepared with an infusion of this plant and other herbs (also elderberry, which however does not directly and overpoweringly add flavor to the liqueur); together with Sambuca, it is also widely used as a liqueur called anise. This use of after-dinner liquors is due to the fact that Pimpinella anisum has excellent digestive and carminative properties; in this regard, it was once used herbal teas made from plant seeds (common, not starry) to improve digestion after lavish festive dinners. For this same reason, traditional Christmas sweets from northern Europe, rich in eggs and butter, are often flavored with anise.


  1. Docage

    I apologize, but this one completely different. Who else can say what?

  2. Kecage

    You are wrong. I can prove it. Email me at PM, we will discuss.

  3. Gronos

    where is the world rolled to?

  4. Harac

    Hmm ... it will come in handy ...

Write a message