Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is a plant species in the genus Foeniculum (treated as the sole species in the genus by most botanists). It is a member of the blunden family Apiaceae (formerly the Umbelliferae). It is a hardy, perennial, umbelliferous herb, with yellow flowers and feathery leaves.


Translations: Fenhelis, Pankolis, Chimen dulce, Komorač, Thì là, Koper, Venkel, सौंफ़, Erva-doce, Фенхель, Μάραθο, شمر, 회향, Fenykl, Морач, Haras, 茴香, Fonoll, Koromač, Fenikel, Finocchio, שומר, Fänkål, Adas, フェンネル, Fenouil, Fenchel, Fennikel, Fenikkel, Hinojo, Фенхель, Fenkoli, Копър

Physical Description

Pale green celery like stems and with greenish-brown seeds. The stalks are topped with feathery green leaves where flowers grow and produce seeds.

The Fennel bulb, stalk, leaves, and seeds are all edible. The fennel bulb is an excellent source of Vitamin C, fiber, pottassium, and folate.

Colors: Pale green

Tasting Notes

Flavors: sweet, anise flavor
Mouthfeel: Light and crunchy
Food complements: Fish
Substitutes: Anise, Dill

Selecting and Buying

Seasonality: january, february, march, august, september, opctober, november, december
Choosing: Look for fennel whose bulb are clean, firm and solid.Check for signs of bruising, spotting. Both stalks and leaves should be green. Fresh fennel should have a strong aroma
Buying: Fennel is usually available from autumn through early spring.

Preparation and Use

The three different parts of fennel can all be used in cooking.

Cut the fennel stalks away from the bulb at the place where they meet. If you are not going to use the bulb, cut it first in half, remove the base, and then rinse it with water before cutting it further. The best way to slice it is to do so vertically through the bulb, but you can cut it any which way you want.If your recipe requires chunked, diced or julienned fennel, it is best to first remove the harder core that resides in the center before cutting it.

The stalks of the fennel can be used for soups, stocks and stews, while the leaves can be used as an herb seasoning.

Cleaning: Wash the fennel thoroughly in water after cutting it in half.

Conserving and Storing

Store fresh fennel in the fridge-vegetable crisper. Makes sure to use it immediately as it tends to lose its aroma and flavor after a few days.

Dried fennel seeds should be stored in an airtight container in a cool dry place. It can keep longer if you tore the fennel seeds inside the fridge.


History: The Roman historian Pliny recommended fennel as an aid for eyesight. It was on Charlemagne's list of herbs, and Florence fennel was Thomas Jefferson's favorite vegetable.



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