Are anise seeds the same as fennel seeds?

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4 Comments

Anitalectric April 29, 2011
No. I found this out last month when I was developing my recipe for basil ice cream. Basil itself was not enough to make the ice cream taste "basil-y" so I added some ground seeds I found in the kitchen for some of that extra licorice flavor that basil has. It was the perfect touch! I had labeled the container "aniseed" but the chef told me the next day it was actually fennel seed.

As a vegan, I love to use fennel to make things taste like sausage. Aniseed is stronger and sweeter and I like toasting the seeds in a warm pan before using them in a recipe. Another look-alike is caraway. They are the smallest of all those seeds and are most often used to flavor rye bread.
 
WeeklyGreens April 29, 2011
Thanks to you both. I love that you people are up at this hour thinking about these things just like I am. Crazy food people unite!

Amanda, I look forward to being able to buy just the few tablespoons of fennel seeds I need at the new Rockville WFM. Yippee!
 
hardlikearmour April 28, 2011
Nope. Similar flavor, but different. Fennel is milder IMO than anise.
 

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Amanda H. April 28, 2011
No, but many people use them interchangeably. Fennel seeds are larger and coarser in texture with a woody, anise flavor. Anise seeds are smaller, with a slightly sweeter, more delicate fragrance.
 
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