Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Swine Flu remedy from your grocery store

Star Anise is the dried, star-shaped fruit of a small Asian evergreen. Unrelated to each other, Star Anise has an even stronger licorice flavor than Anise Seed and is used in many baking recipes. It is also a key ingredient in Chinese savory cooking, and is one of the 5 ingredients in the renowned "Chinese 5-Spice" blend. It is also well known for giving the distinctive flavor to liqueurs such as Galliano and Sambuca.

This spice just also happens to be the key raw ingredient for Tamiflu, one of the main anti-virals used to treat swine flu.

Star anise is available in packages in Asian supermarkets. When purchasing star anise, look for whole pieces that aren’t broken. At home, store star anise in a sealed container in a cool dark place. Properly stored, star anise will last for several months. Discard once the flavor fades.

In slow cooked or simmered dishes, star anise is usually added whole (not broken into pieces) and discarded before serving. Occasionally, you may find stir-fry recipes calling for ground star anise.