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Saturday, 27 August 2011

Grow and use herb anise/aniseed

Aniseed is an annual herb which is best grown from seed in its final position, as it does not transplant very well. Seeds can be sown in Cyprus between January and February at 3mm deep and gradually thinned in stages to 50cm apart. Aniseed likes soil with pH of between 6.0-7.5 and prefers light, fertile and well drained soils. The herb needs moderate watering and is relatively drought tolerant.

All parts of the plant are edible, but especially so the seeds but remember to keep some seeds for replanting next year. You can use aniseed leaves in salads. Seeds are useful as a flavouring during cooking or baking or for adding to home made pickles. The stems and roots, after washing, can also be added to soups and stews to provide a mild liquorice flavour. When the herb is flowering try adding some flowers to a fruit salad.

Aniseed tea is traditionally used in Cyprus to treat digestive problems. The tea can also be used to treat coughs and colds and the seeds chewed as a mouth freshener.

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