Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
Main Facts about Fennel
Perennial, umbelliferous herb, fennel is composed of a white or pale green bulb from which closely superimposed stalks are arranged. The stalks are topped with feathery green leaves near which bright golden flowers grow and produce fennel seeds. The bulb, stalk, leaves and seeds are all edible. Fennel's aromatic taste is unique, reminiscent of licorice and anise, so much so that fennel is often mistakenly referred to as anise in the marketplace. Fennel's texture is similar to that of celery, having a crunchy and striated texture.
Using FennelFennel is a spice used for both culinary and medicinal purposes. It contains potassium and fiber. 1 cup of fennel bulb contains almost 20% of the daily requirement of vitamin C. Great for gas, flatulence, indigestion. Fennel seeds, particularly in powdered form, can act as a laxative. Fennel is also commonly found in medicines that treat abdominal pain, diarrhea, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and other intestinal issues. Fennel leaf tea lowers blood pressure without reducing heart rate. Seeds increase libido and milk production. Seeds also used as "licorice". Used for coughs and colic in children. Helps cancer patients rebuild digestive system after radiation and chemotherapy. Also used for kidneys, liver, spleen, lungs. Takes away appetite, taking some before meals helps you eat less.
Caution!Do not eat if pregnant.
Cooking with FennelSeeds can be used in salads, soups, dressings.The odour of Fennel seed is fragrant, its taste, warm, sweet and agreeably aromatic. It yields its virtues to hot water, but more freely to alcohol. The essential oil may be separated by distillation with water. Fennel tea is made by pouring half a pint of boiling water on a teaspoonful of bruised Fennel seeds. The three different parts of fennel—the base, stalks and leaves—can all be used in cooking. Cut the stalks away from the bulb at the place where they meet. The stalks of the fennel can be used for soups, stocks and stews, while the leaves can be used as an herb seasoning.
How to grow FennelFennel will thrive anywhere, and a plantation will last for years. It is easily propagated by seeds, sown early in April in ordinary soil. It likes plenty of sun and is adapted to dry and sunny situations, not needing heavily manured ground, though it will yield more on rich stiff soil.
Fennel Toxic Look-alikesPoison hemlock (has white flowers, smells bad and has purple splotches on the stem)