All parts of fennel plants are used in cooking. The bulb and stalks are sliced and added to soups or other recipes as a vegetable, while the leaves are an edible garnish. Fennel seeds are a common spice found in most grocery stores. All parts of the plant have a slight peppery taste, with the stalks being similar to celery. Trimming either the whole fennel plant or just the stalks ensures you get the most use out of this adaptable plant.
Cut the stalks off at the soil level if you are leaving the bulbs in the ground. Otherwise, dig up the entire bulb and bring the whole plant inside.
Rinse any dirt or debris off the fennel in cool, running water. Trim off any roots attached to the bulb with a sharp knife.
Cut the stalks off the bulb if you harvested the entire plant. Trim the feather-like leaves off the top of each stalk then cut the stalks into small slices.
Cut off the root end of the fennel bulb. Slit one side of the fennel bulb with a knife and peel of the layer, similar to peeling an onion.
Cut the bulb into quarters or into slices, depending on what your recipe calls for. Store the trimmed bulbs, stalks and leaves in the refrigerator for five to seven days.