Any fan of licorice or anise flavor, so prevalent in Asian cooking, is familiar with this lovely spice.
I use it in pickles, primarily, like these wonderful Pickled Daikon Radish and Carrots.
In recent years, as much as 90% of the world’s harvest of star anise has been purchased by the pharmaceutical industry to make Tamiflu, a drug used to combat flu pandemics.
Star anise is the fruit of a small Chinese evergreen tree. The Star-shaped fruits are harvested unripe and dry in the sun. The oils are concentrated in the star shaped shell.