It has a strong fragrance and is used in making chicken, seafood, biryani, and vegetarian dishes. It is a small flower-like fruit. It is dried in the sun until it becomes greyish-brown in color. Then, it is ground to a powder or can be used as such. Star anise is dark in color and it is also used as a mosquito repellent.
Always buy stars that have unbroken points. Store in an airtight container in a cool and dark place. Whole star anise can remain fresh for almost one year. The ground spice retains its flavor for about 6 months.