Appearance & Taste

Fennel has a similar appearance to celery if it had shorter stalks that spread out, a white bulbous base and sprigs resembling dill coming off of the top called fronds. Often the fronds are trimmed when buying fennel from the grocery store, which is unfortunate because they make great soup or salad toppers.

Fennel tastes nothing like celery, in fact fennel has a taste that is all its own. It has a crisp, aromatic, almost licorice or anise flavour that is distinct in any dish it is featured in.

Uses

This unique vegetable has as many uses raw as it does cooked. Chop into sticks to be enjoyed with guacamole or hummus, use the wedges as a boat for salsa or smoked salmon or pair it with pear in a salad for a delicious combination. Its fresh taste will lighten up hearty grain bowls. For an interesting twist, toss some into your green smoothie or mix with fruit for snacking. 

Fennel’s unique taste becomes more delicate when cooked. Try roasting roughly chopped fennel with the other vegetables you typically roast, add it to stir-fries, or feature it in a silky soup like today’s recipe. 

Selection & Storage

For juicy, flavourful fennel, choose a squat and rounded bulb. Look for feathery fronds that have not been trimmed if you want to add extra flavour and texture to your fennel dishes. Healthy bulbs will be shiny and free of browning or splits.

Store fennel in the crisper and consume within 4 days. It’s not as hardy as it looks so don’t forget about your newfound food! You may freeze fennel after blanching but you will notice a considerable flavour decline.

Nutritional Benefits

Fennel is rich in fiber, potassium, vitamin C, molybdenum, manganese, copper, phosphorus and folate. In addition, fennel is very low on the glycemic index. These nutrients make fennel an excellent choice for immune and digestive support.

Like its seeds, fresh fennel has a carminative effect, preventing or removing the formation of gas that contributes to flatulence, cramping and bloating. This effect eases the pain associated with this excess gas.

Fennel also has an anti-inflammatory and potential anti-cancer effect thanks to a special phytonutrient found in its volatile oil named anethole.1 Foods that have an anti-inflammatory effect are not just good for those with arthritis. Inflammation can occur from your head to your toe, including your digestive tract.

 

References:

  1. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=23#purchasequalities
Creamy Fennel Soup
Yields 6
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 fennel bulb, medium chopped
  2. 1 onion, sliced
  3. 3 celery, rough chopped
  4. 2-3 garlic cloves, skins on
  5. avocado oil
  6. ½ tsp cumin
  7. ½ tsp coriander
  8. ½ tsp turmeric
  9. 1 tsp Himalayan salt
  10. 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  11. 2” fresh ginger
  12. 4 cups vegetable broth
  13. ½ cup coconut milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Place the fennel, onions, garlic and celery on a parchment lined sheet pan
  3. Drizzle avocado oil over the vegetables
  4. Massage to evenly coat along with the salt, pepper, turmeric, cumin and coriander
  5. Bake for 60 minutes stirring every 20 minutes
  6. Puree the ginger with 1 cup of the broth
  7. Then add the remaining broth, coconut milk and the roasted vegetables
  8. Puree until smooth and creamy
Notes
  1. Don’t forget to remove the skins from the garlic cloves once they are roasted. Only add the soft, creamy centers.
  2. Once garlic is roasted it has a milder flavour. It makes a great addition in so many recipes. Roast a few extra if you want to make a creamy garlic dip for your vegetables, a yummy garlicky salad dressing or where ever else you like to add garlic.
Jessica Stopard http://jessicastopard.com/