Growing and Saving the Seed Of Anise
Latin name Pimpinella anisum is a tender perennial usually grown as an annual. A member of the Apiaceae, or carrot, family, the lacy umbels of delicate white flowers give rise to the seeds. These intensely flavorful seeds are widely appreciated for flavoring baked goods and liqueurs and as a "licorice" flavor substitute. Also great for use in soups, sauces, stews and salads. The enticing anise invites a range of different pollinators to the garden, making an excellent lesson for kids on the multitudes of different pollinating insects and their importance. Also makes a tasty mild tea, so refreshing when served iced on a hot summer day!
Native to the eastern Mediterranean and southwest Asia, anise is an ancient herbal favorite, cultivated at least since the days of ancient Egypt.
- Seeds germinate in 14 days.
- Start 4-6 weeks before last frost.
- Plant 1/4" deep in rich soil.
- Ideal germination temperature 70-80 F.
- Plant in rich, fertile soil in full sun 2 weeks after the last frost.
- Water sparingly at first, increasing water just before harvest.
- Cut the top half of the stalk to slow flowering and encourage new growth.
- Plants are slow to bolt.
- Let second growth go to seed and harvest seed in autumn when ripe.
- No serious pest or disease issues; Anise oil is said to repel insects.
- Good companion to tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, grapes, and oregano.
- Do not plant near cucumber, sage, carrots, radish, or rue.
- Cut the flower spike, being careful to hold the flower upright so as to not lose the seed.
- Turn it upside down over a piece of cloth and let seeds fall out.
- Try spinning or turning the flower around so that any other seeds remaining inside will fall out.
- Hang in a warm, dry place to dry, then thresh. Complete the harvest before the first frost in fall.
- Dried anise seeds can be stored for several months in an airtight container.