Post by desertwoman on Feb 19, 2016 19:33:24 GMT -5
Technically something is a spice if you use the roots, bulb, bark and seed and an herb if you use the leaves. So fennel would be considered a spice, I guess.
Yes, it is sort of a licorice flavor. I think of it as more like anise. And it has a sweet flavor. I find that it loses some of its flavor when you cook it.
It's a bulb, with a couple of stalks that sort of look like celery., but not really.
I grind the seed and sprinkle it into greens (kale and chard) I sauté with olive oil and onions and a touch of salt. I slice the fennel 'bulb' fresh into salads.
You could also put these sautéed greens on a slice of whole wheat bread that has been grilled with garlic and a little olive oil for an Italian bruschetta antipasto. I've never grown it so I don't know its habits.
Northern New Mexico Zone 6b (formerly Zone 5) Posting since 2005
To my knowledge there's two kinds. One is leaf fennel which I think of more like a true herb and then there's bulbing fennel which I usually think of as a vegetable.
I usually have the leaf kind growing with the herbs ands its pretty much yr round here, looks. a lot like dill. As mentioned its more anise to me. Of these there are two kinds plain green and a bronze variety www.johnnyseeds.com/p-8200-bronze.aspx
I usually like to use it with fish but also quite often pick a few tips to make up my salad mix.
The bulb fennel I have grown few times but I find it much harder to grow to get it to bulb correctly. Basically I think its better to sow later in year after solstice so it bulbs for the next yr. Plant too early and it can go to flower. Must try more though as its. a lovely vegetable and definitely something thats great home grown. Anyway that's my experience, I know the seeds are used a lot as well, I have some for Indian cooking but I don't use them that much.
Inland Southern California USDA zone 9b, Sunset zone 19
I grew it 1 year, the bulbing kind. I like the taste just fine, I don't like the toughness of the strings - the bulb has strings like celery. I imagine one could use it in place of celery in just about anything. you use just the bulb, and not the stems, they are reeeealy tough. I saw an Italian cook make it into a raw salad, with vinegar type dressing. she said they all grow it there, and eat it straight up like celery. I have put it in soups and stews when I have it. I bet it would be good cut into long pieces and pickled! maybe even spicy pickle. you could also treat it like cabbage and make cole slaw or sour crout with it - that would be interesting.
the bulbs didn't grow very big for me, don't know why, only grew it once. it was in the early years of my garden when it was super fertile. didn't really get bugs, and I had it in full sun. I planted starts in spring and harvested in late summer. I like davids idea tho
I also have only grown it once (twice?). As to picking, my guess would be to use it before it is old enough to bolt and bloom. It would probably be more tender then. It's in the umbel family with parsley, carrots, celery, cilantro, cumin.. These are also generally harvested before they bolt, unless seed is the goal.
When I did grow it, I used it raw. The bulb thin-sliced across with tomato wedges in a salad. It was both good and attractive. Oil and vinegar dressing.
But it obviously wasn't good enough to grow again, lol. It's distinctive and probably something one would not want to eat all that often.
Coastal Southern California, zone 10, avocado belt, still in a drought.