Eating From Your Yard: Fennel, by Jill Kuhel

Eating from your yard tip ~ the fennel seeds are turning brown and ready to harvest! Fennel is in my top five favorite herbs. I carry a container of fennel seeds in my purse to ease coughs, upset tummies and freshen up breath. All parts of fennel are edible. Some people get upset because their bronze fennel doesn’t produce a fennel bulb. It is the Florence fennel that produces the fennel bulb used in cooking. The bronze fennel is fabulous in its own right for its little licorice flavored seeds and bronze feathered leaves. You can’t have Italian sausage without fennel seeds and no East Indian meal is complete without candied fennel. Karalyn Neville crushes fennel and mustard seeds to make her sweet mustard. I put fennel seeds in my tomato sauce and sprinkle fennel seeds on my pizza. My mouthwash is infused fennel, sage and chamomile in gin~like gargling with ouzo. Fennel infused alcohols are also lovely, with the added benefit that fennel is thought to protect the liver from alcohol damage. Fennel pistachio cookies (the recipe is below with the photo) bring back happy memories of the Christmas cookies from my Greek landlord when I was 25. Fennel and chamomile tea help relieve anxiety and upset tummies. Nursing mothers take note that fennel increases milk flow, which can be both good or bad. Fennel is also an important monarch host plant so plant extra to share with the monarch caterpillars. How do you eat fennel seeds?

Jill Kuhel

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