Love it or Hate it
Fennel is a part of the Umbellifereae family and is closely related to parsley, carrots, dill and coriander. You may also hear it called Florence fennel, finocchio, or sweet fennel at times. Fennel much like Marmite is something that most people either love or hate. It has an assertive aniseed or liquorice flavour when eaten raw, which is often mellowed out after cooking. If you find the flavour of this vegetable a little too intense why not try roasting, grilling, braising or sautéing it to soften the flavour.
Fennel itself can be an excellent source of vitamin C, as well as provide additional fibre, potassium, molybdenum, manganese, copper, phosphorus and folate into our diet. The bulb, stalk, leaves and seeds of the fennel vegetable are all edible.
When looking for fennel bulbs, be sure to keep an eye out for ones that are white, with no blemishes, and feel heavy for their size. The feathery green tops should be fresh and bright, with no yellowing. Make sure the bulbs are clean, firm and solid, without signs of splitting, bruising or spotting. Try to avoid dried out, shrivelled bulbs and those with yellow discoloration, spots, splits, and bruise.
Fennel bulb is used as a vegetable to add flavours to various dishes, particularly in salads, stews, and soups. Fennel pairs well with tomato, fish, and pork, and can add a mellow sweetness to your dish.
This month's Fennel Bulb from Keeling's Select comes from McCormack farms in Dunsany Co. Meath.