Nowadays, the market demand for Chinese star anise is increasing, along with numerous questions from consumers about this product. Therefore, K-Agriculture has synthesized knowledge related to Chinese star anise to introduce as well as answer everyone’s inquiries.
Brief introduction of Chinese star anise
The following section will be the most important and basic information about the Chinese star anise that K-Agriculture has compiled to share with everyone. In addition, K-Agriculture has also compiled the common mistakes consumers make so that everyone can avoid making them again.
Chinese star anise
The Chinese star anise, scientifically known as Illicium Verum is a plant native to China and northeastern Vietnam. The characteristic of the Chinese star anise tree is that it has a rather small shape, only 6-10m, and the trunk is straight and smooth with a grey, brown colour. Usually, star anise will have 6-8 petals, arranged in a star shape with a diameter of 2.5 to 3 cm, each petal carries a small, smooth seed. Most of the Chinese star anise flowers, after harvested, will be dried, exported as full pieces or processed into essential oils.
Difference between Japanese star anise and Chinese star anise
Method to select quality Chinese star anise
In terms of appearance, high-quality Chinese star anise must not be crumbly. Chinese star anise must be harvested while it was still full of star anise oil. The petals must be plump, the larger and rounder the star anise seeds are, the more evidence that the star anise was harvested when it is fully ripe and has accumulated enough essential oils. Just put some high-quality Chinese star anise in the room and the fragrance will appear immediately. Using one or two Chinese star anise petals when cooking can make food tastier, especially with traditional Asia dishes. In addition, it is necessary to pay special attention to the supplier, and carefully check whether there are sufficient documents certifying the origin of the Chinese star anise.
Price of Chinese star anise in the market
Depending on the season as well as the needs of the market at each time, the price of Chinese star anise might change. However, the average price for fresh Chinese star anise will range from $4 – $5 per 10 kg. As for dried Chinese star anise, the price will be higher, ranging from $8 – $12 per 10 kg.
The use of Chinese star anise in everyday life
Star anise is used in many filed such as culinary, medicine and cosmetics. The following sections will detail the whole star anise benefits in daily life and their value to consumers.
Chinese star anise can be used for medicinal purposes
For Western medicine, the Chinese star anise is used to aid digestion, or it can be used as a defecation medicine, because the Chinese star anise has a quick effect on the nervous system and muscles, helping to soothe pain and soothe spasms. Has a rapid effect on the nervous system and muscles, helping to soothe pain and calm spasms. Not only that but Chinese star anise is also used as an aperitif and toothpaste. For Eastern medicine, Chinese star anise is often used to treat bloating, abdominal pain, vomiting, and detoxification of fish meat. However, depending on the natural disposition of each person, the doctor will prescribe medication.
Chinese star anise can be used as a cooking condiment
Chinese Star anise is often favoured and used to spice up dishes, whether in powdered or whole-piece form. The characteristics of Chinese star anise are sweet, spicy and fragrant, so it is especially popular in Asian countries. Many traditional Asian dishes here use star anise as a seasoning to add character and flavour to the dish. Some famous dishes that use star anise as a seasoning are Vietnamese pho, Indian curries and Chinese braised dishes.
Chinese star anise can be used to make skincare cosmetics
Star anise, after refining and becoming an essential oil, and can be used for beauty care. Chinese star anise essential oil is used by many spas to steam their customers’ faces. In addition, Chinese star anise essential oil is also very easy to use and is applied by many people at home. Just add a few drops of Chinese star anise essential oil into a basin of hot water or a facial steamer to steam. The steam rising mixed with the warm scent of the Chinese star anise not only helps to relax but also cleans away all the dirt hidden under the pores.
The process of processing and producing Chinese star anise
To be able to produce high-quality anise, the growing process is extremely important. The following section will describe in detail the growing process as well as the processing process to create high-quality Chinese star anise before delivering it to the consumers.
Chinese star anise must be planted at the right time
The best time to plant Chinese star anise is in spring or the rainy season. Besides the main season, Chinese star anise planted at the end of the year and in early spring still can be harvested off-season. However, the off-season Chinese star anise will be more expensive and will not be of the same quality as the main-season star anise.
Chinese star anise will be selected and only the best seeds will be sown
For all plants, choosing good seeds is extremely important. For Chinese star anise, it is necessary to choose the mother plants over 10 years old that are healthy and have produced fruit. Notably, the Chinese star anise selected as a seed must have 8 – 11 petals. When ripe star anise will turn from green to yellow, that is also the best time to harvest. After harvesting, the Chinese star anise needs to be kept in a cool, sheltered place or dried in the sun in the early morning or cool afternoon to separate the seeds. After 4-5 days of drying, the seeds will be separated from the fruit.
The next step is to store the Chinese star anise seed. The seeds should be stored in moist sand and must not be exposed to the sun, then placed in holes dug on the hillside, surrounded by kerosene to repel ants. In addition, to ensure the safety of the seeds, the outside will also be dug around to prevent rainwater from entering. The seeds will be checked every 2 weeks. This preservation method can keep seeds for a long time and the germination rate is up to 70-80%.
Chinese star anise must be guaranteed the best natural conditions to grow
One of the indispensable things for planting in general and Chinese star anise, in particular, is water conditions. At the young stage from 1-3 years old, Chinese star anise needs a lot of water, since it is a moisture-loving plant. At the maturity stage (over 10 years old), Chinese star anise has moderate drought tolerance, and flexibly adapts to different water supply conditions of the environment.
Under 5 years old, the Chinese star anise will be covered with tarpaulin to block the sun, since at this stage anise cannot withstand direct sunlight. At the age of 8 years, the Chinese star anise plant begins to bloom, as a result, the need for light also increases gradually. By the age of 20 years or more, Chinese star anise will require full sunlight.
Chinese star anise requires it to be planted on good soil with a thick layer, pH=4.5, and high humus content (>3%), the soil is moist all year round, and well-drained. Chinese star anise should not be planted on limestone soil, less acidic or neutral, sandy soil, or thin layer soil with strong erosion. It is advisable to plant Chinese star anise on hillsides with relatively thick topsoil and sufficient nutrients.
Chinese star anise needs to be fertilized to grow quickly
To revive good results, it is necessary to apply bio-organic fertilizers every year and NPK 12-12-17-9+TE (about 15-20 kg/tree) in the period before the plants bloom and after they bear fruit. When fertilizing, it is necessary to dig a trench around the canopy layers, spread fertilizer and then fill it with soil, remove weeds, vines, and shrubs around, and cultivate the roots.
The final step is to harvest and process Chinese star anise
The final step of Chinese star anise production is harvesting and preliminary processing. Chinese star anise usually bears fruit from March to May. In July and September, Chinese star anise begins to ripen and can be harvested. Normally, it is only possible to get fruit from anise trees that are 5 years old or more, only 2 crops a year, so this is considered a “rare” product. After harvesting, the star anise fruit should be dried immediately to increase the shelf life and avoid mould, but before drying, Chinese star anise fruit will be dipped into boiling water for a few minutes to kill the yeast. With this method, the fruit will have a beautiful, red colour, but the essential oil content is slightly reduced. Usually, every 100 kg of fresh Chinese star anise after drying will give about 25-30 kg of dry product.
How to distinguish real and fake Chinese star anise
For most people, distinguishing between real Chinese star anise and fake Chinese star anise is very difficult. Taking advantage of this factor, some fraudulent traders have profited to get profit. Commonly, the real Chinese star anise is often confused with Mangcao because of their similarity in appearance. Distinguishing between real and fake anise is extremely important because it not only causes financial loss, but this fake anise (Mangcao) is also very toxic and can be extremely harmful to the health of consumers.
Differences based on appearance
The fake Chinese anise (Mangcao), usually has 10 to 13 petals and is elongated. The petal will bend at the top. Real star anise has larger and fewer petals, usually from 7 to 10 petals. In addition, the petals of real Chinese star anise are also relatively flat and each petal has a seed that looks like an egg inside.
Differences based on colour
Another feature that you can rely on to distinguish real and fake Chinese star anise is their colour. The fake star anise flowers are mainly khaki-like, lighter yellow. Real Chinese star anise is usually reddish brown or crimson. It is easier to distinguish the colours if they are placed side by side.
Differences based on taste
Real Chinese star anise has a very fragrant smell and a pungent, slightly sweet taste. While fake star anise does not have this natural fragrance. When eaten, it will cause the eater to numb the tongue. In addition, fake star anise also has a sour taste and unpleasant smell. Many curious people who have tasted fake Chinese star anise said that it feels like toilet paper and sewer water.
Where to buy high-quality Chinese star anise?
If you are in need of importing star anises, you can also consider trying Vietnamese anise, both are of the same species, but both have different characteristics due to being grown in different weather and soil conditions. Vietnamese star anise is famous for containing high levels of essential oils as well as tasting better than Chinese star anise. Above all, Vietnam is currently ranked 3rd in the world in terms of export volume of star anise, so you can completely trust the exportability of Vietnam. One of the most prominent exporters of star anise in the Vietnam market is K-Agriculture, established in 1996 and supported by the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Vietnam, K-Agriculture is now considered a reliable partner providing high-quality Vietnamese agricultural products from rice, and spices to coffee. Among those products, star anise stands out the most with a large processing plant system in Hung Yen and a warehouse with a capacity of more than 21,000 tons. K-Agriculture is highly appreciated for its high-quality star anise in large quantities, exported to major markets such as India, China, Japan, etc.
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