Fennel bulb is something you like or you don’t. There is no middle way.
Fennel is crunchy and slightly sweet, adding a refreshing contribution to the ever popular Mediterranean cuisine. Most often associated with Italian cooking, be sure to add this to your selection of fresh vegetables from the autumn through early spring when it is readily available and at its best.
Fennel is a perennial, pleasant-smelling herb with yellow flowers. It is native to the Mediterranean, but is now found throughout the world. Dried fennel seeds are often used in cooking as an anise-flavored spice. But don’t confuse fennel with anise; though they look and taste similar, they are not the same. Fennel’s dried ripe seeds and oil are used to make medicine.
When eaten raw, the texture is crisp and the flavor is quite assertive and anisseedy. Cooked, it’s softer and more mellow.
If possible, go for the smaller, young bulbs, as they’re more tender. They should look white, with no blemishes, and feel heavy for their size. The feathery green tops should be fresh and bright, with no yellowing.
It originated in the Mediterranean and those cultures have long used it for culinary and medicinal reasons. It has not been spread and naturalized as an herb around the world, but still primarily grows in coastal climates and on riverbanks. It is also one of the main components of the alcohol absinthe, although the plant does not have hallucinogenic properties.
The health benefits of fennel include relief from anemia, indigestion, flatulence, constipation, colic, diarrhea, respiratory disorders, menstrual disorders, and its benefits regarding eye care. Fennel, which has the scientific name Foeniculum Vulgare Miller, or its essence, is widely used around the world in mouth fresheners, toothpastes, desserts, antacids and in various culinary applications.
Fennel is used for various digestive problems including heartburn, intestinal gas,bloating, loss of appetite, and colic in infants. It is also used for upper respiratory tract infections, coughs, bronchitis, cholera, backache, bedwetting, and visual problems.
Some women use fennel for increasing the flow of breast milk, promoting menstruation, easing the birthing process, and increasing sex drive.
Fennel powder is used as a poultice for snakebites.
In foods and beverages, fennel oil is used as a flavoring agent.
In other manufacturing processes, fennel oil is used as a flavoring agent in certain laxatives, and as a fragrance component in soaps and cosmetics.