Many people go crazy over kale, but what they don’t know is they are missing out on the fantastic fennel bulb. It’s an underrated vegetable and has a fresh scented flavor. You can easily have it raw or sautéed and even roasted. It’s also added in soups and different sauces like Vegan Fennel Pasta.
If you haven’t worked with this fun-shaped veggie, we will give you all the reasons you need to have it now! Keep reading!
What is a fennel bulb?
Fennel bulbs, or just fennel, belong to the family of carrots. Even though fennel bulbs aren’t rooted vegetables, they have a base of long stalks that weave together to form a crisp bulb that grows above the ground and in the open. Right above the bulb, at the tip of the stalks, you’ll find feathery leaves similar to dill. When these go to the seeds, fennels produce small yellow flowers that are amongst the leaves. Each part of the fennel bulb is edible, even the flowers, and can be eaten raw and cooked.
What is fennel: a spice, a herb, or a vegetable?
It’s all three! Yes, that’s right, fennel plants are natively found in the Mediterranean basin and have a base that’s quite bulbous and can quickly be eaten as a vegetable. The feathery fronds can conveniently be used as a herb, and the fennel seeds can be dried and used as spices. Did you know that the fennel’s pollen is dried and gathered to add in dishes as a saffron-like spice in Italy? How cool!
Types of fennel:
Fennel bulbs are used in cooking, but the main two types that can easily be used in making a yummy dish are:
- Large Bulbed Fennel
- Herb Fennel
The large bulbed fennel, also known as the Florence fennel, is popularly grown to be sold as a fresh vegetable. At the same time, herb fennels are perennial that you can quickly grow in your garden for seeds, fronds, and pollen.
Do not be fooled by wild fennels, which are abundantly worldwide and even in California. I don’t recommend foraging for wild fennel, since it looks similar to poison hemlock.
What does a fennel bulb taste like?
The flavor of the fennel is mainly described as “anise-flavored”, but it doesn’t mean it’s similar to the licorice stick. Fresh fennels and fennel bulbs are delicate and mild; the bulb is identical to celery in terms of texture. It’s crunchy, crispy, and very fibrous if eaten in its raw form. It becomes soft and quite silky when it is cooked.
Which part of the fennel can you eat?
Fennel’s are quite famous and known as the frond to root purchase. You can quickly eat all parts of the fresh fennel; the large and white bulb can either be cut and eaten raw or cooked and used to enhance flavor like onions and celery do and can be prepared like any other root vegetable is cooked. The fennel stems are known to have a high concentration of fiber. Finely chop them and slice them to add to your salads and even stews. Let’s not miss out on the tender leaves that can be used as an alternative to parsley, basil, or mint. These taste equally delicious!
Perhaps it’s established that fennel has various uses, such as a herb, vegetable, and spice. You can eat fennel raw, and it’ll be very nutritious.
- A cup of raw contains about 360 mg of potassium, which may help you manage your rising blood pressure. Did you know that fennel bulbs and the whole vegetable are pretty rich in potassium, making it a good source of kidney strengthening, a healthy resource for bones, and strengthening your muscles?
- Apart from the health benefits they provide, a scientific review stated that fennel bulbs are suitable for women’s health. It’s noted that this unique vegetable can ease all possible signs of menopause. For now, you can incorporate some of it into your diet to ensure you can get out of your menopause and have a healthy balanced life.
- You can also incorporate fennel bulbs and use them as a diuretic. Many people use them in different teas and mix them with syrups and water, even salt. The diuretic effects of the fennel are used in hopes of treating people with higher blood pressure.
- Its health benefits also include it being an antidote for poisonous plants. You can have some of the fennel or fennel bulbs to get rid of the effects.
- Nursing mothers can use it as it helps in increasing breast milk.
- This unique vegetable is used to relieve chronic cough, so all those suffering should incorporate fennel bulbs and fennel in their diet.
- It’s an anti-inflammatory for various eye conditions, including glaucoma, and can be used to reduce its effects.
- If your infant is suffering from teething pain, feed him mashed fennel bulbs or cook some fennel and feed it to your kid to bring relief.
How to buy fennel?
Remember to choose bulbs that are firm and white. Avoid going for fennel bulbs that have cracks and are browning. The fennel bulbs should be significant in size compared to the stem and fronds, primarily if they are being sold according to weight.
How to store fennel?
To store the fennel bulbs, use paper or plastic bags and place them in the bottom of your fridge for two weeks. If you see the fonds wilting, that’s okay; you can still consume this veggie. Cut the fennel and wrap it up in plastic to avoid any browning. You can also store chopped fennel in your freezer. Line it with parchment paper and later transfer it to plastic bags and use it in soups and stews; it sounds yummy!
Final thoughts on the fennel bulb:
Fennel bulbs are unique, and trying them means providing your body with all the health benefits. Use it at least once or twice a week and enjoy its taste and the benefits it offers.
More Ingredient Information:
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