Fennel seeds, leaves and bulbs are all packed with flavor and good-for-you compounds.
There are certain foods that I didn’t discover until later in life. Fennel was one of those foods, but now it makes it onto my grocery list every week. The popular vegetable is delicious both raw and roasted, and its dried seeds are equally versatile.
Fennel is a generous plant. Its leaves, seeds and bulbs are full of flavor and good-for-you compounds. There are two main types of fennel: Botti and Florence fennel. The herb fennel has light green leaves similar to dill and pale yellow flowers in summer. Once the flowers turn brown, they are cut and hung to dry and the seeds that fall from the flowers are collected. These seeds are the final product displayed in the spice aisle at the grocery store.
Florence fennel, then again, is what you may find within the produce segment or on the farmer’s market, and may be eaten raw or cooked. It is small with dark green foliage, called fronds, and celery-like stalks that extend to a large white bulb, which forms the base of the plant. Both types of fennel have a mild anise flavor reminiscent of sweet black licorice.
Florence fennel is low in carbohydrates and a good source of fiber, vitamin C, beta-carotene (which our body converts to vitamin A) and potassium. Fennel seeds, meanwhile, are one of the world’s oldest medicinal herbs, and are used to treat colds, allergies and stomach aches. Tinctures, teas and dietary supplements are crafted from dried fennel seeds which are overwhelmed to launch their healthy crucial oil. Anethole and fenchone, aromatic compounds that are the main components of essential oils, have been shown to break up and clear mucus in the respiratory tract, making them an effective remedy for congestion. these compounds also relieve bloating and gas.
Anethole and fenchone are also known as phytoestrogens – plant chemicals that are similar to estrogen and can mimic its action in the body. For postmenopausal people they can help manage symptoms that result from changes in estrogen levels, such as hot flashes and insomnia. In people who are still menstruating, anethole and fenchone have an anti-inflammatory effect that can relieve symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, such as cramping and heavy bleeding, and over-the-counter pain relievers. The ones which reduce the need. In lactating women, the compounds may stimulate the release of prolactin, the hormone responsible for milk production, although more studies are needed to confirm this.
Fennel seeds are also incorporated into spice blends across the middle East and Asia, which include Chinese five spice and garam masala. They’re used to flavor sausages, chutneys and marinara sauce. in many cases, fennel seed provides that tough-to-pinpoint flavor that makes a dish specific. Toasting and crushing the seeds activates their aroma, which lends itself nicely to curries, stews, salad dressings and roasted veggies. They pair specifically nicely with tomatoes and roasted cauliflower. Fennel seeds are green whilst sparkling and slowly flip a dull grey-brown as they age, so for the most flavor are trying to find out inexperienced seeds.
Whilst eaten raw, fennel bulbs are nice thinly shaved and added to a salad or slaw—its strong flavor goes an extended way. Shaved fennel makes a terrific addition to salads with a sweet detail, like in a slaw with apples or a salad with citrus or beets. The bulb’s center and stalks are harder and fibrous, so it’s best to depart them out of raw dishes, but they soften up nicely when cooked.
Whilst uncooked fennel has a satisfying crunch, it will become silky and smooth when cooked and takes on a sweeter flavor, which pairs superbly with red meat, fish and other seafood. attempt thinly slicing and adding it to pizza with Italian sausage, arranging large pieces under a chook earlier than roasting so it caramelizes and soaks up the tasty juices, or baking it into a tacky, breadcrumb-topped gratin instead of the usage of potatoes.
You could locate fennel seeds year-spherical and Florence fennel is in season from fall via spring, making it the correct veg whilst different produce like tomatoes and zucchini aren’t yet at their height. if you’re tormented by veggie fatigue, add a fennel-spiked meal in your weekly rotation.