Fresh Clips: Growing Anise and Mustard from Kitchen Scraps

Grow anise and mustard plants from leftover spices.

| August/September 2012

  • Anise, or aniseseed, tastes similar to fennel, and is not the same as star anise (Illicium verum).
    Photo by luchezar
  • The book "Don't Throw It, Grow It" explores multiple ways you can have fun with fruits, nuts, herbs and spices by growing these vigorous housplants from kitchen scraps.
    Photo courtesy Storey Publishing
  • Use your mustard seed harvest to make condiments.
    Photo by JohnnyMad

When spices are seeds, such as anise and mustard, put them to work by planting a few. Charlemagne described herbs as “the friend of physicians and the pride of the cook.” And, I would humbly add, the joy of the kitchen gardener.

Why grow herbs?

Many are beautiful to look at and most offer a harvestable crop. With herbs and spices, marvelous new flavors can be added to standard dishes.

Getting Started with Growing from Kitchen Scraps

Herbs are available everywhere, and they are cheap. Most of all, they are easy to grow. The next time you are at the grocery store, look carefully inside the jars and containers of herbs and spices, and you will see that many of them contain seeds. Most will grow, some will bloom and a few will actually yield seeds.

Where to Find Seeds

You can easily find anise, mustard, caraway, celery, dill, fennel, sesame, and other herbs and spices while grocery shopping. (Or you can pick up seed packets at a garden center.)

Anise (Pimpinella anisum)

Family: Apiaceae
Plant Type: annual herb
Method: from seed
Growth Rate: quick-growing
Light: bright sun

What Anise Looks Like
The first leaves of anise are round and toothed, but later leaves are deeply lobed. The flowers, which appear later, are white, delicate and lacy, like those of Queen Anne’s lace. Outdoors, anise grows up to 2 feet. Indoors, it seldom reaches more than 1 foot.

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