Fennel is crunchy and slightly sweet with a slight, mild licorice taste, it’s good raw or sliced thin and cooked in olive oil like an onion. Popular in Indian, Italian, Spanish, Middle Eastern and Mediterrean dishes, the variety that we grow at Underwood Family Farms is the culinary version which is characterized by the large bulb. The stalks are topped with feathery green leaves (fronds) from which flowers can grow to produce fennel seeds. The bulb, stalk, leaves and seeds are all edible. Fennel belongs to the Umbellifereae family and is related to parsley, carrots, dill and coriander and is generally regarded more as a herb or spice.
According to Wikipedia it has been used widely as medicine to treat a variety of symptoms, most notably as an ingredient in “gripe water” alongside sodium bicarbonate and sometimes dill, ginger and chamomile. Gripe water is a natural liquid given to infants to subside colic tummy pain. The next time you have stomach upset – try chewing on a few fronds of fennel!
High in vitamin C, fennel also is a good source of fiber and minerals – calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron (to name a few!).
Here is a super simple way to prepare fennel this week, give it a try, you may find that those that have turned up their nose before become fennel fe-natics!
Just slice the fennel bulb lengthwise into 1/2 inch slices, brush with olive oil and roast in the oven at 400 degrees 30-45 minutes, during the last 10 minutes try adding some Parmesan or Manchego cheese to the tops. Makes a great side dish to fish or chicken.
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