Fennel has be one of my favorite vegetables. Roasted fennel adds a sweet/savory dimension to any meal! I love it roasted or cooked in soups or stews.
Fennel belongs to the Umbellifereae family and is closely related to parsley, carrots, dill and coriander. The anise or licorice flavor is mild and really just adds a sweetness to any dish.
Fennel is not on EWG’s Dirty Dozen Extended list, which goes up to 51. I always try to source organic vegetables when I can, but organic fennel is hard to find. I am OK with conventional fennel since it does not even appear on the list.
First clean the outer layers and then cut off the stalks and leafy fonds and set those aside. If the outer layer is wilted or really dirty just peel it off and discard. If it really thick and you don’t want to waste any, cut away the dirty parts.
Next, stand the bulb upright and cut in half to the core. Open the halves and cut away the core and discard. Set the half on a cutting board, cut side down, and make slices (I use at least 1/4″) going with the grain.You can use these long slices for this dish or chop it for smaller pieces.
If you want it chopped into small pieces, turn it around and make 1/2″ slices.
Fennel is a great source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, folate, potassium and manganese. It is has significant amounts of niacin, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and copper.
All these vitamins and minerals make fennel a great addition to any plant based diet.
Fennel originated in the Mediterranean and those cultures have a history of use for cooking and medicinal complaints. Fennel is well known around the world as a digestive aid. It may be used to stimulate digestion because the concentrated essential oils stimulate the digestive secretions so important for proper digestion.
Due to the high fiber content, fennel is known to aid in constipation. It may help with bloating, gas and acid reflux as well.
In India it is common practice to chew fennel seeds after meals. This is done to facilitate digestion and to eliminate bad breath.
Ayuvedic medicine also encourages a tea (3 Seed Digestive Tea) made with cumin, coriander and fennel seeds as a digestive support tea. The cold tea is really delightful with the deepened anise flavor after it sits for a few days.