How do I use bronze fennel?

leira(6 MA)April 7, 2009

I've just received some bronze fennel seeds from an herb seed exchange. However...fennel simply isn't in my repertoire.

How do I use it? I gather that both the seeds and the root have uses...though I don't know what they are.

Can any of you enlighten me?

Thanks!

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Daisyduckworth(Aust)

Use bronze fennel in exactly the same ways as the 'normal' fennel.

Pick young stems and leaves as required. Collect 'bulb' as soon as big enough to be useful. The flower stalks collected just before they bloom can be eaten like celery. Collect seeds as they mature. Harvest the root in spring.

Culinary Uses: The entire plant is edible. Seeds are added to sausages and baked goods; the leaves are used with fish, vegetables, cheese spreads and soups. Fennel can be used in/with salads, sausage, pork, duck, fish, cabbage, cucumber, onion, herb butter, cheese spread; seeds in desserts and breads. The 'bulb' can be used cooked or raw as a vegetable. The greens can be used almost interchangeably with dill and the seeds can be used ground in lentil soups, whole in boiling water for rice and brussels sprouts, or added to breads. Seeds and leaves used with fish, in soups, salads and dressings.

Medicinal Uses: Excellent digestive, suitable for babies in tiny doses. Also used to treat respiratory congestion, conjunctivitis, styes, diarrhoea, cystitis and other urinary tract infections, to eliminate hookworms, to increase flow of breast milk, as a soothing eyewash and the chewed seeds will freshen the breath. It is also used to reduce appetite in slimming regimes. Helpful for cancer patients after radiation and chemotherapy. May improve the libido in both males and females. Fennel oil can be rubbed over painful joints to relieve rheumatism and may be added to gargles for hoarseness and sore throat and cough.

Tons of recipes using fennel here:

http://fooddownunder.com/cgi-bin/search.cgi?q=fennel

Although common (and bronze) fennel will form a bulb, to get a really good bulb you need to grow Florence Fennel (Foeniculum . vulgare azoricum). The flavour of the leaves is more delicate than that of the common fennel. In good conditions, bulbs usually size up before winter. Some gardeners pull loose soil up around the bulbs to blanch them.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   April 7, 2009 at 6:14PM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

To add to Daisy's great post, bronze fennel adds a different color and leaf shape to your garden. Herb gardens can be very beautiful gardens so occasionally choosing an herb for aesthetic purposes is good too - especially when it is as useful as fennel. Bronze fennel will stand out against all the other green herbs.

Fennel is also a host plant for the Eastern Black Swallowtail Butterfly. Who doesn't want a few butterflies and their interesting caterpillars visiting? :)

FataMorgana

Here is a link that might be useful: Wikipedia - Eastern Black Swallowtail

    Bookmark   April 8, 2009 at 9:32AM
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catman529(6b)

So are the leaves of Florence fennel still good for cooking, if they have a more delicate flavor? I'm assuming that more leaves will be needed for cooking than the regular fennel. I will be trying some F. vulgare var. azoricum this year and I want to use it however I can b/c I love anise flavors and have never tried fennel before.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2009 at 11:55AM
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