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.
43 thoughts on “Fennel bulb”
Thanks for sharing. I have never used fennel before and would like to try it.
Absolutely love fennel, both seeds and bulbs. Halve fennel bulb, sprinkle with Parmesan and drizzle with olive oil before roasting in hot oven till tender and golden.
Sprinkle fennel seed, chili flakes and salt over root vegetables before roasting with loads of onions.
Rub fennel seed and salt onto pork shoulder before slow cooking. And always buy pork and fennel sausages from your Italian butcher.
Great post and stunning photography, cheers from Australia.
Thanks for the info Anna! What time is it there in Australia? It is 5:30 pm on Wednesday here on the east coast USA
Thanks for sharing this info, I have always wanted to try this, but have been scared. I will now try it, and see what I can come up with. Thanks again
I’ve used fennel a few times in recent weeks, (having never used it before) and I must say what an interesting & versatile veg it is. I was pleasantly surprised to read of its health benefits also! One recipe was a variation of spaghetti bolognese using lamb mince & fennel instead of onion… Fab! Another was a tomato & fennel Rissotto! Also very nice!
I’m officially going to try to incorporate more fennel into my cooking! Up to now I’ve only sliced it and roasted it with beets. How do you like it? Or should I just google 🙂
I never try it. I will give it a go and put the recipe here.
Great post! I have just started using fennel the last couple years. I had to google it on how to clean it. 🙂
Diced fennel bulb instead of fennel seed is my Italian meatball “secret” ingredient… not so secret anymore! 😛
Thanks very nice photos and interesting write up. A unique dish I tried with fennel was lobster mac & cheese at a cafe. The cream, cheese, lobster chunks, penne pasta and white wine went beautifully together! More details here http://delicieuxpate.wordpress.com/2014/10/05/the-providore-those-who-love-and-adore-food/
One of my favourite vegetables – lovely matched with orange in a salad.
I love fennel!!!!
Thank you all for your comments and for ideas. I will decide on a recipe and share it with all of you.
I really dislike the taste of fennel but love your photos!!!
I never thought I liked fennel until a woman brought the whole darn thing to a meeting. She also had a knife and happily shared. It’s far too underrated!
Thanks for sharing! I never knew fennel had so many uses!
Just roasted some last night. Great flavor!
Great post! We love fennel..in fact its probably my two year old’s most loved vegetable. Sauteed with a bit of olive oil and salt…mmm..nothing like it!
Yum yum yum! I LOVE fennel. Roasted with onions and carrots it’s amazing!!
Well done. Fennel is one of my favourites to cook with. As a 22yr old backpacker in Italy so long ago, being served a bowl of shaved fennel dressed w/ lemon and oil was a revelation. These days I serve it up with the roast when family comes around. It’s a brave new world. I sauté it with onions at the start of pasta sauces and paellas and in the workplace we source the very youngest bulbs to poach in olive oil. Good article CwL 🙂
Reblogged this on chefelliott.
I enjoyed learning a bit more about fennel which happens to be a flavor that I very much like.
Fennel increases sex drive? Huh…. I’m gonna check that out for my patients.
liking how you photograph your food, very original
I love fennel and you are so right…no middle ground. Here is to the fennel lovers
Hi there. Thank you for stopping by Primal Zen yesterday. I thought I’d hop on over here to Cooking Without Limits and have a look around. I have never heard of fennel (at least I don’t think I have) and would like to learn more. Thank you for posting this delightful info.
You are welcome.
My husband was reluctant to try fennel but he’s pretty trusting when it comes to my cooking. Now he really enjoys it. Great post! Introducing people to new flavors is what great cooks do!
I love fennel. I love it roasted. This is a great post! YUM fennel!
I need to use fennel more…. Love this post!!! Super cool stuff 🍲🍴💣
Very nice write-up on the health benefits of Fennel. I have passed it up many times in the market and knew it had an anise flavor, but now i am intrigued and must try it. Thank you. Bob
Reblogged this on Your Gateway to Health and commented:
I popped over to Cooking without Limits to check out some of her recipes and found this informational post about fennel. Anyone from nursing moms to foodies may be interested in the health benefits that can be obtained.
i enjoy fennel raw. so aromatic and crunchy. but i especially enjoy it cooked in a seafood soup. makes such a world of difference with its aroma.
That is a very interesting idea
Fennel is Fab! I love it. Thanks for the great post
You are welcome
Reblogged this on Travels with Mary and commented:
Cheers for Fennel!
I love fennel! Since it is so expensive (here on east coast of USA), I tried growing my own this year. I was unsuccessful, but will try again next season perhaps with more research!
Here is expensive too.