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Whole Gourmet Natural Cooking

Alison Anton's Natural Cooking Blog offers healthy recipes, inspirational food articles and culinary advice for the natural chef, and features dessert recipes from her upcoming cookbook, Desserts for Every Body.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Fennel In Season

Reminiscent of licorice and anise, fennel's fond flavors are commonly used in both sweet and savory dishes. There are two kinds of fennel, both widely used, yet have distinct purposes.

Florence fennel (finocchio or sweet fennel) has a broad bulb that is eaten as a vegetable. The bulb and stalks can be eaten raw in salads or cooked in a variety of ways such as braised, sauteed, or roasted. The feathery green foliage is commonly used as a garnish or flavor-enhancer.

The other is called common or wild fennel, and is the variety from which fennel seeds come. Fennel seeds are used to spice foods and are available whole or ground. They are a common digestive aid, helping to rid the intestinal tract of mucous, gas and indigestion. Try doing as the East Indians and leave a small bowl of fennel, anise and cardamom seeds on the counter to chew after meals to help aid digestion and freshen breath. It also makes a stand-out rub for roast chicken.

Fennel is cultivated in the Mediterranean and United States, and is best eaten in its peak season from fall through spring. The bulbs should be stored in the refrigerator and should keep for 1-2 weeks.

RECIPES:
Braised Fennel Bulbs
- This recipe is a pleasant side dish for people who are bored with the usual vegetables... [get recipe]

Fresh Fennel and Spinach Salad with Honey-Miso Vinaigrette - A sweet and tangy salad perfect to kick those mid-season blues. [get recipe]

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