I hope you are learning as much as I am from our 12 ways series! I knew bits and pieces about particular foods but committing time to learn more about each individual ingredient that our Fresh Friday readers asked us to investigate has been a truly enjoyable endeavor. The latest ingredient we are devoting the day to is fennel.
The appealing anise (licorice) flavor of fennel is familiar in cuisines worldwide. Often we think only to eat the fennel bulb. Think again – every (above ground) part of this lovely vegetable is edible! Bulbs, stalks, seeds and fronds, the feathery green tops on the fennel that are reminiscent of dill, can all be added to your cooking repertoire. The fennel bulb is fabulous sautéed, steamed and raw, one of my favorite ways to cook it (thanks to a Cooking Light Magazine recipe) is to sauté the bulb and use as a topping for pizza. But today, in addition to learning more about fennel, we are lucky enough to discover 12 terrific more ways to prepare (all parts of) it!
Did you know:
- Fennel is a perennial plant and a member of the Apiaceae family, which also includes carrots and parsley.
- Native to the Mediterranean region, today fennel is cultivated in many regions of the world, with large quantities coming from India.
- The word fennel comes from the Latin word foeniculum, meaning “little hay.”
- Interestingly enough, fennel can be classified as an herb, a vegetable and a spice!
- Fennel seeds are often used for tea, pickling, in herbal vinegars or oils, and in breads and cakes.
- Essential oils from the seeds can be found in perfumes, cosmetics. and soaps.
- According to the USDA Nutrient Database, a half-cup of fresh fennel has a mere 13 calories! And it is loaded with nutrients including healthy doses of calcium and potassium. Yum!
- It is thought that the famous battle of Marathon was fought on a field of fennel.
Fennel, like so many other foods, is not only recognized for its culinary ties but also for its medicinal and magical connections!
- In ancient China fennel was considered a snakebite remedy.
- In the middle-ages fennel was hung over doorways to ward off evil spirits.
- Warriors believed fennel gave them courage.
- Fennel has long been used to help with digestive problems including heartburn, bloating, gas, and colic.
And without further adieu here are Oldways ideas for 12 Great Ways to Use Fennel!