Anise in the garden, growing and harvesting

Growing Anise:

Select a sunny, sheltered spot with fertile soil. I have had some success growing in pots, but the other is preferable.

Sow indoors in mid spring and plant out in late spring one foot apart.

Keep free from weeds and water frequently. Protect against winds.

Anise usually flowers in midsummer.

Harvesting Anise:

When the flowers have faded, the seed heads will turn grayish brown in the fall.

They usually only ripen in warm summers.

Growing Anise Take the seed heads off and put them into a brown paper bag. (the brown paper bag part, is important).

They should burst open and then you can store them in an airtight jar out of direct light.

Use some of the seeds to sow for a crop next year.

Enjoy and look up some new recipes to try.

Some interesting points about Anise that you may not have known.

In aromatherapy, aniseed essential oil is used to treat colds and flu. That is fascinating to me.

According to Pliny the Elder, anise was used as a cure for sleeplessness, chewed with "alexanders" and a little honey in the morning to freshen the breath, and when mixed with wine as a remedy for scorpion stings.

In Indian cuisine, no distinction is made between anise and fennel.

In the Middle East, water is boiled with about a tablespoon of aniseed per teacup to make a special hot tea. It is called Yansoon.

Builders of steam locomotives in Britain incorporated capsules of aniseed oil into white metal plain bearings, so that the distinctive smell would give warning in case of overheating. A brilliant idea.

Anise can be made into a liquid scent and is used for both hunting and fishing. Some say it can be put on fishing lures to attract fish.

Anethole, the principal component of anise oil, is a precursor that can eventually produce an organic compound, which can be used in the clandestine synthesis of psychedelic drugs such as 2C-B, 2C-I and DOB. Who knew?