Native to the Mediterranean and the Middle East anise is one of the most prolific spices in the culinary world. While originally used as a medicine for indigestion and ulcers, many cultures quickly found a use for it in the kitchen. From sweets to preserves to liquor, anise made the rounds and became a staple ingredient throughout Europe, Asia, Australia, and soon the Americas.

The flavor of anise seed is undeniably licorice-like with a piquant sweetness and mild peppery notes that lends itself well to candy making. For a quick dish that easily utilizes the flavor of anise, peel and cut a carrot into thin coins. Sauté the carrots in butter, a bit of honey, and a teaspoon of anise seed over medium-high heat until softened. You’ll find them to be a delightful side dish with game birds or ham.