Star anise is used much like a dried cinnamon stick. Think of it as a pod that you add to dishes and then scoop out prior to eating. The fruit is actually a schizocarp, an 8-chambered fruit with each containing a seed. It is not the seed that contains the flavor but the pericarp. During cooking, the anethole compounds are released to scent and flavor the dish. It can also be ground and added to recipes.