What is the difference between anise and fennel?


Quick Answer

Anise, or Pimpinella anisum, is an annual herb, meaning it requires yearly replanting. Meanwhile fennel, or Foeniculum vulgare azoricum, is a perrenial, regrowing naturally every year. Anise is a flowering, rooted herb producing licorice-flavored seeds, whereas fennel is a licorice-flavored herb with both bulb and seed producing root varieties.

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Full Answer

Both Anise and fennel have culinary applications; the leaves of both plants are popular in salads. Anise seeds are used whole and ground in cooking, as well as in potpourri, fragrant oils and sachets. Homemade licorice candy recipes often include anise extract for the licorice flavor. The rooted, sweet-fennel plant has flavorful stems used in broths, sauces and salads, and the more recognizable bulb variety, Florence fennel is considered a vegetable, eaten raw, sliced in salads, or roasted and sliced. Aside from culinary uses, both anise and fennel reportedly have medicinal benefits. Both fennel and anise seeds are high in fiber and posses antioxidant properties, and both contain minerals such as zinc, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron and copper, as well as vitamins, A, C, and B complex. Other medicinal properties are aiding digestion and reducing intestinal gas. Anise and fennel plants are native to Europe, the Middle East, Mediterranean regions, India, Egypt and China

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