Aniseed

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Infobox on Aniseed
Example of Aniseed
Aniseed WC.jpg
Facts
Origin
  • Europe: Turky, Spain, Greece and other Mediterranean countries
  • Egypt
  • Japan
  • India
  • Mexico
Stowage factor (in m3/t)
  • 3,5 m3>/sup>/t (bags></li>
  • 7,60 m3/t (boxes)
Humidity / moisture 9 - 13%
Ventilation See text
Risk factors
  • Moisture damage
  • Self heating
  • Foreign odour
  • Weight loss
  • Infestation
  • Defilement

Description

Anise, also called aniseed, is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae native to the eastern Mediterranean region and Southwest Asia. Its flavor has some similarities with liquorice, fennel, and tarragon.

Anise is a herbaceous annual plant growing to 3 ft (0.91 m) tall. The leaves at the base of the plant are simple, 0.5–2 in (1.3–5.1 cm) long and shallowly lobed, while leaves higher on the stems are feathery pinnate, divided into numerous leaves. The flowers are white, approximately 3 mm diameter, produced in dense umbels. The fruit is an oblong dry schizocarp, 3 – 5 mm long, usually called "aniseed".

Anise is a food plant for the larvae of some Lepidoptera species (butterflies and moths), including the lime-speck pug and wormwood pug.

Anise plants grow best in light, fertile, well drained soil. The seeds should be planted as soon as the ground warms up in spring. Because the plants have a taproot, they do not transplant well after being established, so they should be started either in their final location or transplanted while the seedlings are still small.

Western cuisines have long used anise to flavor some dishes, drinks, and candies, and the word is used for both the species of herb and its licorice-like flavor. The most powerful flavor component of the essential oil of anise, anethole, is found in both anise and an unrelated spice called star anise (Illicium verum) widely used in South Asian, Southeast Asian, and East Asian dishes. Star anise is considerably less expensive to produce, and has gradually displaced Pimpinella anisum in Western markets. While formerly produced in larger quantities, by 1999 world production of the essential oil of anise was only 8 tonnes, compared to 400 tonnes from star anise.

As with all spices, the composition of anise varies considerably with origin and cultivation method. These are typical values for the main constituents.

Moisture 9 - 13%
Protein 18%
Fatty oil 8-23%
Essential oil 2 - 7%
Starch 5%
N-free extract 22 - 28%
Crude fibre 12 - 25%

Essential oil yielded by distillation is generally around 2-3% and anethole makes up 80-90% of this.

Application

Anise is sweet and very aromatic, distinguished by its characteristic flavor. The seeds, whole or ground, are used in a wide variety of regional and ethnic confectioneries, including the black jelly bean, British aniseed balls, Australian humbugs, New Zealand aniseed wheels, Italian pizzelle, German Pfeffernusse and Springerle, Austrian Anisebögen, Netherland muisjes, Norwegian knotts, New Mexican Bizcochitos, and Peruvian picarones. It is a key ingredient in Mexican atole de anís or champurrado, which is similar to hot chocolate, and it is taken as a digestive after meals in India.

Anise is used to flavor Middle Eastern arak, Colombian aguardiente, French spirits absinthe, anisette and pastis citation needed, Greek ouzo, Bulgarian mastika, German Jägermeister, Italian sambuca, Dutch Brokmöpke, Peruvian and Spanish anís, Mexican Xtabentún and Turkish rakı. In these liquors, it is clear, but on addition of water becomes cloudy, a phenomenon known as the ouzo effect. It is believed to be one of the secret ingredients in the French liqueur Chartreuse. It is also used in some root beers, such as Virgil's in the United States.

Aniseed is additionally used in the production of aniseed tea and to flavour various liqueurs, such as anisette.

Anise, like fennel, contains anethole, a phytoestrogen. Anise has been used to treat menstrual cramps. The main use of anise in European herbal medicine was for its carminative effect. The essential oil has reportedly been used as an insecticide against head-lice and mites.

Shipment/storage

To be stowed cool, dry, with good ventilation, and away from foodstuffs which readily absorb foreign odours (e.g. coffee, tea, copra etc.). Favourable travel temperature range: 5° / 25°C. Keepability approx. 12 months at the recommended storage conditions. At temperatures >25°C, Essential Oils may be lost and there is a risk of self-heating.

It is important to retain the content of essential oils, as these determine the odour and flavour and thus the quality of the spices. The higher the ambient temperature, the more the essential oils are volatilized.

Note:If the product is at ‘shipping dryness’, it does not have to be ventilated during transport. However, if the water content does not meet these guidelines (i.e. >12-13% moisture), the recommended ventilation conditions are 6 air changes/hour.

Risk factors

  • Moisture damage
  • Self heating
  • Foreign odour
  • Weight loss
  • Infestation
  • Defilement