The use of fresh and dried fennel dates back to ancient times and became a part of Greek mythological traditions. It is an important part of the food culture in European nations such as Italy and France. Its many health qualities have helped to make it very popular around the world. Its unique taste and versatility has been responsible for its tremendous growth in popularity. The United States, India, France, and Russia are the leading cultivators of this highly nutritious versatile vegetable. Fresh fennel is highly sought after for its incomparable array of nutrients and because of its role in aiding many gastrointestinal problems as well as other health issues.
Characteristics and Food Uses
Use all parts of fresh fennel as the bulb, leaves, stalk, and seeds are all edible. Its taste is unique and can be compared to licorice or anise. It can be cut into many different shapes and sizes to fit into different recipes according to preference. Many chefs use the leaves for seasoning stocks, soups, and stews. Fennel also lends itself well to being sauteed with other vegetables.
Try new recipes using fennel for a unique, aromatic taste. Its pungent flavor adds a delicious new taste when combined with salmon or other fish dishes. Many salad recipes call for the addition of fresh fennel, especially those made with avocados and oranges. Fennel complements almost all dishes made with citrus fruits.
Experiment with using the leaves and stems of fresh fennel in various recipes. Marinades seasoned with fennel can be used for grilling several different kinds of meat such as chicken, beef, and especially fish. The primary ingredient in herbal seasonings is fennel. Try adding fresh fennel leaves to extra virgin olive oil for a unique condiment. Add fresh leaves to dishes just before serving as cooking sometimes diminishes the flavor of fennel.
Consider adding fresh fennel to your diet to help provide many essential nutrients. It is an excellent source of fiber and may help reduce cholesterol levels. It is a good source of the B vitamin folate. It is also rich in potassium, which helps to lower high blood pressure. Fennel contains a combination of phytonutrients thus making it a good antioxidant. Fresh fennel can be eaten either raw or cooked.
Choose fennel leaves for their medicinal uses in treating symptoms of congestion, colds and sinus, digestion problems, arthritis, and even pet care. It has qualities that make it useful in weight-loss programs. The phytonutrient anethole, that occurs naturally is fennel, has been shown to inhibit stomach spasms in the intestinal tract.
Brew a cup of fresh fennel tea made from the seeds and combined with a teaspoon of organic honey for a soothing drink that calms the stomach and the nerves. . A natural cough remedy can be made by combining 1 to 3 drops of fennel oil with 1 tablespoon of honey.
About this Author
Linda Woolhether is a retired teacher born in Texas, but now resides in Wyoming. Her career as a reading and writing teacher spanned 20-plus years. She holds a Master of Arts in education in curriculum and instruction and is experienced in various types of writing. She was successful in writing several educational grants while teaching. Completing a novel is presently her goal.