Fennel is one of those herbs that perplexes people so in this post I will show you how to cut fennel.
Fennel is one of those plants that I love to grow in my garden.
It is easy to grow and very impressive to look at, and it is also delicious in salads.
The Greeks and Romans used fennel regularly as medicine, food and tea.
Ancient Romans referred to fennel as fragrant hay, and the tea was said to give courage to warriors going into battle.
Fennel has many benefits such as improving eyesight, regulating blood pressure, and purifying the blood.
Along with several other benefits, it has a good amount of vitamin C, some iron, magnesium and calcium.
What is Fennel?
Fennel is a flowering herb that is part of the carrot family, and has a liquorice, anise flavor to it.
It is ingiginous to the Mediteranean but grows all over the world, and is considered invasive in some areas.
Technically an herb, the large bulb at its root is treated like a vegetable.
High in dietary fiber the whole plant is edible, cooked or raw.
Even the flowers are edible that it puts out when going to seed.
How to Cut Fennel
Fennel will last for about a week in your fridge, and the flavor will slowly go away as it dries out.
There are a couple of ways to prepare fennel, try to cut the bulbs when you are ready to use them.
First remove any brown or cracked parts of the bulb, then cut off the stalks and fronds.
Using a sharp knife slice off the bottom of the bulb, and slice longways.
Shave off any rough areas using a vegetable peeler, which will make it easier to dice the fennel.
Once the fennel bulb has been cut open make a V shaped cut at the root to remove the hard bit just above the root.
Do this on both halves of the sliced bulb and then lay cut side down on the cutting board.
For slices of fennel, thin slice widthwise starting at the bottom of the bulb all the way to the stalks.
For chopping fennel, slice the half bulb lengthwise, and then come back and chop widthwise.
Cutting a wedge will make your fennel quarters easier to eat.
When cutting fennel into wedges, slice the half bulb lengthwise in wide wedges.
How to Pick Great Quality Fennel
Look for fennel that is not browning, cracked or has soft areas.
Realistically you will probably have a little browning or cracks on the outer layers of the bulb.
You want medium sized bulbs that feel relatively heavy, firm with bright green fronds.
Essentially you want to choose a healthy looking plant with vibrant colors.
How to Store Fennel
Fennel can be stored in the fridge wrapped in plastic for about a week for best flavor.
You can slice off a bit of the bottom of the bulb and place it in a cup of water on your counter.
Whichever way you go try and use your fennel in the shortest time possible, before it begins to lose its flavor.
You can also freeze fennel to keep over a longer period.
It is good to blanch your fennel if you decide to freeze it.
I chop mine before I freeze it so I can thaw and use it in stews and soups.
After frozen fennel is thawed it will no longer be crispy so is best used for cooking purposes.
What to Use Fennel In
There are so many ways to go with fennel, which is a flavorful stand in for celery.
Fennel is a natural fit for soups and stews, and anything that can use a gentle additional flavor.
Use fennel as a steamed vegetable all on its own, with some butter, salt and pepper.
If you like risotto, fennel is a really good option in this most Italian of dishes.
Including fennel in a salad is just beyond words in my experience, it just adds so much taste.