The Plant
Anisata is a coastal rainforest tree of subtropical eastern Australia. These days it's rare to find it in the wild, and the ones left in their natural environment must not be foraged. Fortunately for those of us who love to cook with this aromatic herb, there are significant plantations of Anisata in this region, particularly in the area around Lismore.
Brush past an Anisata tree and an intriguing aniseed aroma will envelop you. The leaves are rich in the essential oils anethole and citral: anethole is an aromatic compound that gives the leaves their aniseed flavour, and the citral provides a slight lemon and eucalypt finish.
The tree can grow up to 45 metres in the rainforest, but most of the commercial plantation trees grow about 8-10 metres or may be hedged  for efficient harvesting.
In spring this already beautiful tree is covered in a dense show of pretty, tiny and fluffy white flowers - very similar to Lemon Myrtle trees in flower.
Chilled Ricotta, Anisata and Honey Pudding
Culinary use
While the curly leaves of this beautiful tree can be used fresh, they are usually dried and ground to produce a distinctive aniseed herb with a delightfully aromatic finish. The flavour is similar to to that found in star anise and fennel, but other compounds in its leaves add a sweetness, making it suitable for both savoury and sweet dishes. To say it just tastes like aniseed or has a liquorice flavour does this herb a major disservice as it is way more complex than that and it is very versatile, so let your imagination run wild as to how to use it. 
Anisata is intensely flavoured and small amounts deliver a big flavour hit so be judicious when using it. Where possible, it's a good idea to add it toward the end of cooking to avoid dissipation of the important essential oils.
We like to use the whole dried  Anisata leaves to make a flavoured vinegar, or use the dried and ground leaves when making pasta or bread dough.  Add a little to panko breadcrumbs to make a delicious coating for fish or chicken. Sprinkle Anisata on sweet potato before roasting or add to tomatoes when slow-roasting. Make a butter cake and add about 2 teaspoons to the batter just before baking.
1 teaspoon is equal to 2g
1 tablespoon is equal to 8g
You will find more ideas our Recipes pages
Health Benefits 

Aniseed myrtle is considered a “functional” food as it has displayed varying levels of antioxidant activities and anti-microbial activities . These activities can be attributed to two main components found in the plant – anethole and methyl chavicol (citral). The herb has been used traditionally as a sedative and a stimulant for coughs as anethole has been shown to break down respiratory tract secretions.  Anethole rich plants such as the Anisata tree are traditionally used by Indigenous Australians as a treatment for digestive problems such as belching, hiccupping and persistent epigastric (upper abdomen) pain. Research additionally has shown that anethole has anti-inflammatory properties. Citral is known to have strong anti-microbial properties.

RIRDC funded research has shown that extracts of aniseed myrtle inhibited the growth of foodborne pathogens such as the cholera-causing bacterium Vibrio cholerae amongst others .  The same research also showed that extracts of anisata displayed mild antioxidant activities.

These functionalities ensure that this herb is perfect as a culinary herb as it requires no 'aids' to such as chemical fumigation or irradiation to be safe to eat (as some non-Indigenous herbs and spices do)

Newer Post

Leave a comment