Fennel has a round bulb that grows underground with a long, green, feathery top. It smells of licorice (or anise). Fennel bulbs range from white to pale green and are covered by overlapping stems to the top of the bulb. Fennel is related to other herbs and is a member of the parsley family. Bulbs have a milder taste compared to the green tops, and all parts of the vegetable are edible.
Best Storage Practices:
Fennel should be kept in cold refrigeration. Separate fennel with other veggies in the crisper drawer to protect the lifespan of the food. Properly stored fennel can last up to 5 days.
Fun Ways to Eat and Cook:
Fennel can be eaten raw or cooked, as cooking it provides a milder taste. When cooking, fennel can be substituted into any recipe that calls for celery, onions, or sprouts. Boil, bake, or stir-fry fennel with other ingredients. When eating raw, add to salads, soups, or more.
Avoid fennel with discoloration or bruising. Damaged bulbs or green tops signal old or inferior fennel. Only select fennel with white to pale green bulbs and green stem tops. Fennel should be crisp and firm.
Why it’s Good to Eat:
- Good source of dietary fiber
- Green tops are a rich source of Vitamin A
- Bulbs are a good source of Vitamin C
- Good source of folate and various vitamins and minerals
When it’s in Season:
Fennel can be grown in home gardens year-round and often last for nearly two years. Fennel, like many herbs, does not require strenuous harvesting, but upkeep is important.
How it’s Harvested:
Fennel’s whiteish bulb grows underground with the tops growing aboveground. When mature, the bulb is pulled form the ground by the stems.
Fennel and Orange Salad—Thinly slice fennel and combine with chopped orange slices. Drizzle with olive oil and 1 Tablespoon each of lemon and orange juice. Salt the salad to taste and garnish with toasted pecans or walnuts.