My new favorite herb: Anise leaves

A pile of fresh picked anise leaves and flowers

We’ve been stopping by a community garden in our neighborhood doing a bit of weeding and pruning this summer. When we went a few weeks ago, we saw these tall bushes of what looked like dill and smelled like licorice. I tasted a bit and it tasted overwhelmingly like dill, so I thought that was what it was. We took some home and I’ve been adding a little bit to pretty much everything.

We stopped by today and met some of the garden organizers. I told them how much I loved the dill, and it turns out that the bush is anise. I forgot all about that third option in the dill-fennel family.

I’ve already started using it in dill dishes (like the best tzatziki sauce I’ve ever had), so it’s hard for me to think of it as something other than dill. It’s like a dillier dill and it is wonderful. I think that I may need to try to make a batch of “dill” pickles to see if there is any noticeable difference.

Has anyone ever used anise greens in their cooking? I’d love to hear some ideas about what else to do with, since I have several bushes of it available for the taking.

One year ago: Egg white avocado salad

About this author:  I'm a New Yorker who would rather cook than go out to restaurants. Sometimes I think I may be in the wrong city for that. Then I remember the exotic ingredients I'd be hard-pressed to find if I lived somewhere else. My cooking style is an eclectic range of everyday-American, Italian, middle-eastern, with extensive forays into Japanese cuisine, and some pit-stops into Indian and African cuisines. I love to try my hand at recreating dishes I taste. While I enjoy most anything with a flavor, from high cuisine to instant junk food, I have a soft spot in my belly for home-style cooking no matter the geographic or ethnic origin. Read more from this author...

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