Anise is an aromatic plant used as a vegetable and a spice. Its characteristic aroma and flavor comes from the compound anethole, which is also responsible for similar flavors in star anise, fennel and liquorice. It should not be confused with star anise, which has a similar flavor profile but is used differently.
The entire anise plant may be used in cooking, including leaves, stems, and seeds. The stalks may be used in stir-fry, and the finely-divided leaves can also be used as a flavoring. The seeds are often dried and/or ground for long-term storage. A few seeds may be added to pizza sauce to deepen the flavor. Anise seeds can also be processed to make anise essential oil and extract.
Anise is used to flavor a variety of alcoholic beverages, including absinthe and sambuca.